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Gut Reactions to Beneficial Bacteria

Q. When you eat yogurt or take a probiotic supplement, why aren’t the probiotic bacteria killed by stomach acids?

A. The point of consuming a probiotic supplement in a food like yogurt, a powder or a capsule is to introduce beneficial bacteria in the gut, said Dr. Christine Frissora, a gastroenterologist at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital.

There are questions about whether these bacteria survive the gastric acid, make it down to the small intestine or colon and live to have any biological effects. “Certain bacteria have the capability to survive gastric acid and others do not,” Dr. Frissora said.

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