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Nutrition 302 - Lifespan Nutrition: Claims Evaluation, Activia Yogurt

Nutrition 302 - Lifespan Nutrition: Claims Evaluation, Activia Yogurt

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Published by Jessica Oakley

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Published by: Jessica Oakley on Nov 03, 2009
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Jessica Oakley NUTR 302 Claims EvaluationFebruary 18, 2008
Activia with Bifidus Regularis
Activia with Bifidus Regularis is scientifically proven to help with slow intestinal transit when eaten daily for twoweeks, as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Dannon has a line of yogurt called Activia, which is marketed solely on theyogurt’s exclusive addition of Bifidus Regularis, a probiotic strain of bifidobacteria.Activia claims that the Bifidus Regularis will help to regulate the digestive system andhelp with slow intestinal transit (1). Activia’s website explains that this probiotic survives passage through the digestive tract, arrives in the colon as a living culture, and once there plays a beneficial role in the body’s intestinal ecosystem, specifically in reducing longintestinal transit time (1). An evaluation of this claim is made possible for consumers bycitation of recent research articles on the Activia website. In addition to Activia’s citedarticles, the area of probiotics and digestive health has produced a significant amount of studies and research materials to properly evaluate the claim made my Activia andDannon.In order to properly evaluate Activia’s claim and ensure that the sources citedwere representative of all studies regarding the claim, one would need to look further for research articles dealing with physiological effects of probiotics and the enrichment of yogurt with Bifidobacteria. For this evaluation, two studies, both published in 2007,dealing with the effects of probiotics on constipation were analyzed. A third study, on theenrichment of yogurt with Bifidobacterium longum and its colonic/fecal effects onhealthy individuals, was also considered.The first study consisted of a trial involving 129 patients with irritable bowelsyndrome, specifically constipation. The article explains that the trial was conducted on
 
Jessica Oakley NUTR 302 Claims EvaluationFebruary 18, 2008evidence that probiotics, a specific strain of Bifidobacteria in this case, improve intestinalmicrobial balance and may be beneficial to patients with constipation-predominantirritable bowel syndrome (2). The three-month study administered patients with threegrams of a bifidobacteria-containing preparation every day at breakfast. The patientswere evaluated at intervals by means of a medical interview, questionnaires, and physicalexaminations (2) to judge the status of their IBS symptoms. The results state that “asignificant total symptom frequency reduction was observed” (2) over the course of thestudy, which included abdominal pain and bloating, and that there was “a strong positiveeffect on stool frequency” (2). This study concludes that the treatment was effective intreating constipation-variant IBS and also cites another major study: “The largest trial published to date demonstrated a significant clinical improvement with the treatment withBifidobacterium” (2).A second study used a similar approach in the treatment of childhoodconstipation. In this study, a probiotic mixture, containing Bifidobacteria, wasadministered daily to children between the ages of 4 and 16 who were experiencingconstipation (3). Twenty participants were evaluated in this 4-week study, which resultedin the conclusion that the administration of probiotics “increases the frequency of bowelmovements in constipated children” (3) and showed other symptom-relatedimprovements as well, with no negative side-effects (3). Therefore, the positive attributesof Bifidobacteria were proven to show improvements in both children and adults withconstipation and would be a favorable treatment due to the lack of negative side-effects.A third study investigated the effects of yogurt enriched with Bifidobacteriumlongum on healthy individuals. “During two 3-week periods, the subjects received 500

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