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Is Bad Bacteria Good For Us?

According to researchers working in NYU’s Blaser Lab Group, so called bad microflora like Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) play a fundamental role in hunger signaling. After a bout of antibiotics, researches showed that endogenous ghrelin levels remained elevated after a meal. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals the brain to keep eating. In a commentary in the journal Nature, Dr. Blaser emphasized the critical importance of our gut microecology and pointed out that bugs like H. Pylori have existed in the human digestive system for 58,000 years. Across the country, Dr. David Relman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, recently stated: “It’s intriguing and entirely possible that in the future we will get a cocktail of strains and species of bacteria to repair the collateral damage that antibiotics and other practices have done to our inner ecology.” To further put things into perspective, farmers have known for years that antibiotics promote weight gain in livestock without changing caloric intake.

 KATE MURPHY Published: October 31, 2011 New York Times; American Physiological Society Inna Sekirov, Shannon L. Russell, L. Caetano M. Antunes, and B. Brett Finlay

By Thomas Brooks

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