Probiotics, yogurt and gut health in people with HIV

The online information resource for people with HIV, The Body, recently published an article on probiotics, yogurt and gastrointesinal health in people with HIV: A “Cultured” Response to HIV:
Probiotics in Yogurt Could Hold Keys to Optimal Gut Health in HIVers
. Here’s an excerpt:

HIV researchers have known since the early days of the pandemic that HIV can wreak havoc on the gut, which is home to an abundance of CD4 cells. This apparently occurs quite soon after someone is infected with HIV. “It’s almost like the gut is a magnet for the virus early on,” says Bill Critchfield of the University of California at Davis. “[It] becomes compromised in weeks.”

The gut also harbors roughly 100 trillion microorganisms that help with immunity and digestion. HIV infection can upset the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing “bad” bacteria and fungi to flourish there. Several recent studies have suggested that probiotics — the “friendly bacteria” that turn milk into yogurt and also provide health benefits when eaten — can help restore that balance by repopulating the gut with healthy bacteria or by tuckering out the bad bacteria by competing with them for nutrients.

As Nature Medicine reports, microbiologist Gregor Reid of Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, has been studying the health benefits of probiotics for over 25 years. He’s created his own probiotic, called Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, which he has put into a yogurt that is being used in research involving people with HIV. Reid and others around the world have conducted small studies that show probiotics have a positive effect on CD4 counts, though larger studies are certainly needed to confirm those findings.

The article in the journal Nature Medicine is found at It looks especially at a pilot study in Tanzania on yogurt, gut health and HIV.

NYBC, like its predecessor supplements buyers’ club DAAIR, has long been interested in probiotics for gut health in people with HIV. See the NYBC entries at Probiotics for detailed recommendations for use.


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