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Flu shot? Try a Japanese pickle instead

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Flu season is with us-but if you’re hesitating over having the usual flu shot, try a Japanese superfood instead. The suguki pickle has proved itself to be a natural flu preventive and can even protect against H1N1 swine flu and a new deadly strain that has emerged in China, researchers say this week.
Suguki, a pickled turnip, contains the bacteria Lactobacillus brevis, which protect us against a variety of flu strains by boosting the immune system’s own antibodies. In laboratory tests, the bacteria in the pickle successfully killed off the H1N1 swine flu and the new, and deadly, H7N9, flu viruses.
Japanese researchers aren’t quite sure why the bacteria are such an efficient flu fighter, but they are coated with sugars that protect them from the stomach’s acids that usually kill off bacteria.
Thus far, Lactobacillus brevis has been tested only on laboratory mice, and so researchers aren’t sure yet whether it will also be effective in humans, although clinical trials-using a probiotic drink that includes the bacteria-are under way.
(Source: Letters in Applied Microbiology, 2013; doi: 10.1111/lam.12160)

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Article Topics: Influenza
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