A bacteria found in suguki, pickled turnip, is being hailed by scientists as the latest protection against winter flu. The strain of bacteria discovered by Japanese scientists is called Lactobacillus brevis.
The bacteria was tested on mice and it was found to increase the production of molecules in the immune system, specifically those that target flu. The effects were so powerful that the mice were able to fend off the incredibly contagious H1N1 (otherwise known as swine flu).
The scientists have already started trials on humans and are confident about the results. Participants of the trials are taking the bacteria in the form of a probiotic drink.
Author of the study Naoko Waki is encouraged by initial results,
“Continual intake of (the probiotic drink) for 14 days prior to influenza virus infection alleviated symptoms such as loss of body weight and deterioration in observational physical conditions induced by the infection.”
Experts are warning that this winter season could be the worst yet for flu, with an estimation that 10.5 million of us will be affected. In most cases, the flu is unpleasant, but not dangerous.
Those most at risk of complications include over 65s, children aged 2-3, pregnant women and asthmatics. If you are vulnerable, the NHS will offer you a free flu jab to protect yourself over the winter period.
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