Take it to prevent absorption of toxic metals, study says
For this study, Penn State University researchers wanted to assess how microbes in the human gut might affect the absorption of toxic metals (like mercury) compared to the absorption of good metals like iron.
To do this, they studied various intestinal bacteria, as well as genetic determinants of how the body interacts with metals. As graduate student and lead study author Daniela Betancourt-Anzola notes in a press release, they specifically looked for genomes that would allow bacteria to convert mercury into less toxic forms.
Using what’s called “metagenomic sequencing,” they studied how different human and mouse bacteria respond to mercury, and used a probiotic to detoxify mercury found in the human diet. They are now working to make this probiotic even better at blocking the absorption of dangerous metals.
“It’s the perfect probiotic for that because we’ve shown it works in humans before, and now we’re developing it to make it even better,” says Betancourt-Anzola, adding, “It’s inside the gut, it picks up methylmercury, then it goes out.”
Of course, this lab-developed probiotic is not available to consumers, so in the meantime, a quality probiotic regimen can help protect your gut from toxic metals. Here are our favorite probiotics if you’re not sure which one to choose.