Michele Comisky of Vienna, Va., enrolled her 8-year-old son, Jackson, in a study to test the value of probiotics in preventing the gut distress often experienced when taking antibiotics.
Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Escherichia coli bacteria (green) taken from the small intestine of a child. E. coli are rod-shaped bacteria that are part of the normal flora of the human gut.
Stephanie Schuller/Science Source
It's not just kombucha and yogurt: Probiotics are now showing up in dozens of packaged foods. But what exactly do these designer foods with friendly flora actually offer — besides a high price tag?
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Scientists have documented that beneficial microorganisms play a critical role in how our bodies function. And it's becoming clear that the influence goes beyond the gut — researchers are turning their attention to our emotional health.
Biologist Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project, recently moved the project to the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine.
Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado