TURKU, FINLAND. Allergies, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases such as eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes and arthritis are becoming increasingly common in industrialized countries. Dr. Erika Isolauri at the University of Turku believes that intestinal dysfunction is a prime cause of all these diseases and that reestablishing a healthy gut flora can help prevent and eliminate them.
Dr. Isolauri provides a thorough review of the many functions of the intestinal (gut) barrier and points out that
a healthy gut is in a state of controlled inflammation. This ongoing, low-level inflammation is necessary in
order to enable a rapid response to ingestion of pathogens (disease causing microorganisms). However, if
the inflammatory "preparedness" gets out of hand autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and
allergies may follow. Dr. Isolauri believes that oral supplementation with probiotics such as
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium is highly beneficial in both prevention and treatment of
autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well as in the prevention of infections and more specifically,
traveler's and antibiotic-associated diarrhea.