Toronto: Yogurt containing probiotic bacteria may protect children and pregnant women against heavy metal exposure, says a study.
The researchers found a significant protective effect of the probiotic against mercury and arsenic in pregnant women.
This is important as "reduction in these compounds in the mothers could presumably decrease negative developmental effects in their foetus and newborns", according to lead researcher Gregor Reid from the Canadian Centre for Human Microbiome and Probiotics.
While the results obtained in the children studied showed benefits and lower toxin levels, the sample size and duration of treatment did not allow statistical significance.
Working with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the researchers created and distributed a special yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria and observed the outcomes against a control group.
Their lab research indicated that L. rhamnosus had a great affinity for binding toxic heavy metals.
The findings appeared in the journal mBio.