Today we would like to introduce the president of Biogaia Japan, Mr Keitaro Nomura During the corona-virus crisis, he created a buzz on Facebook after writing an article expressing his views on the government’s handling and communication during this troubled period. It seemed that at this time it was especially necessary for the general populace to learn the views of someone who has been long established in a relevant field of expertise.
Human living with Bacteria
E：It’s well known that a mother can pass on immunity to her child through breast milk.
N：Lactobillus reuteri is the source of the probiotics effect of breast milk. In 1998 BioGaia became a listed company, and the stimulus for this decision was babies crying in the night. In Japan infant colic was thought to be caused by feelings of insecurity, and with this spiritual reasoning had been considered a solved case, but actually this was not correct. We had often heard stories from the parents and carers of young infants that prolonged crying at night was a big problem, and our company was able to determine that the problem was stomach ache. Further a wealth of data supports the fact that a large proportion of children born through Caesarean section suffer from infant Colic. This is because when they were born they did not pass through the birth canal. During natural birth, as the child makes its way through the birth canal, it receives probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus bifidus. Whilst still inside their mother, infants generally do not have epidermis residing bacteria such as epidermis staphylococcus. Roughly 2 minutes after an infant is born through natural childbirth these bacteria suddenly begin preparation to protect the newborn infant. However, this is not the case for those birthed through caesarean section. Therefore, however much the adults around the baby use disinfectant, there is still random bacteria in the air which will enter the baby’s body and cause stomach aches. The type of painful stomach ache that adults think of as food poisoning. Therefore they cry loudly. This is really trying on the parents and caregivers endurance. Data shows that 90% of cases of infant abuse is caused by, “The baby wouldn’t stop crying.” The parents don’t know what to do to calm their infant who is crying from the stomach ache and so end up hitting the child.
E：I heard of a case where a parent shook a child for a long time to try and stop their night time crying.
N：That’s right. However, this didn’t solve the problem. The nighttime crying is a disease known as Colic. There is evidence that 35% of babies are unable to create intestinal bacteria sufficiently. When such infants are supplied with lactobasillus reuteri, the balance of their intestinal bacteria is quickly restored. This is because when lactobasillus reuteri is present, the good bacteria are able to easily reproduce. This results in the length of nightly crying reducing to a third of the original time. In exact times, a child that cried for 3 hours every night would after this treatment only cry for 30-40 minutes. From birth until the age of two a child produces intestinal bacteria, but if a child is born through caesarean section, or if the quality of the mother’s milk is insufficient then the problem of insufficient intestinal bacteria will follow the child until they are an adult. Compared to children born naturally, children born through caesarean are 10 times more likely to suffer from allergies such as hay-fever or asthma. They will also suffer from an increased prevalence of stomach aches. This treatment doesn’t just help to solve night time crying in newborns, but many other problems besides. By the way, it is still uncommon in Japan to take children that suffer from night time crying to the hospital.
E：It’s often said that crying infants are a parent’s job.
N：It’s definitely not a job（laughs）. When we presented our research results at a paediatric science conference, we often heard, “in Japan hardly anyone comes to hospital for children crying in the night”. We would like to spread this knowledge to help save families from the stress and difficulties of night time crying.
E：You were able to collect a high level of evidence supporting your claims about lactobasillus reuteri.
N：That’s right, we have the so called pyramid of evidence. In the medical world, there are criteria for new medicines, ranging from level 1 to 7. In Japan, nearly all medicine sold as medical supplies are level 5 or below. Yoghurt is also level 5. To move to the next level, 4, drugs must have been used by participants in clinical trials, and their results not have been refuted. Level 1 drugs have undergone verification in meta analyses, which use a large amount of studies to verify the results. Further no papers refuting the claims of the drug can exist, and so they are considered to be theoretically correct. These drugs have been statistically analysed and have a wealth of supporting evidence. Within Japan, the only food products classified under this meta analysis level are our company’s products. At level 2 is Yakult’s Lactobacillus casei strain shirota. The Japanese manufacturer Yakult is truly amazing.
E：The article you wrote on Facebook regarding PCR testing has been said to be echoing all over facebook.
N：That’s right. I was surprised by that too. I have already passed 5000 new friends and I cannot make anymore. Such a lonely thing（laughs）. There are many questions at the moment about how the government and media get their reports. Anyone who receives a positive result in a PCR test is counted as an infected person, however despite the accumulating reports the thing we must grasp is the actual number of people who have contracted the disease. We who work in the microbiology have been saying since the start that while the PCR test has been used, it is no more than a simple genetic identification test. The PCR test works very well in hospitals at times when doctors need to identify the causal bacteria or virus. I have heard the opinion that PCR tests can give out false positives which is not good, but conversely, the PCR test is a test that has such a high level of sensitivity that it gives out false positives. If you take the perspective of a medical professional, then when a false positive is given out you can see it’s value as a medical compass. If a false positive is given out then you must test again. At the moment the government is carrying out mass testing on the population, but it’s not enough to forever be carrying out an activity that assumes the virus did not infect them until the time of the test. What is the meaning of it? Just 1 minute after they might become infected with corona-virus. Also the test may give them a false confidence as they believe in their body’s immunity, and act in a way that increases the risk of the virus spreading. Of course there are people with the disease and people without the disease. However, whether you test or not the immunity of people does not increase, and it doesn’t cure corona-virus. Whether or not you have corona-virus, or any other disease, at the end of the day you have to rely upon your body’s own immune system.
E: In the future people will associate hearing the word influenza with yoghurt and other foods with lactobacillus becoming sold out in the shops at certain times of the year. It is known in Japan that eating the right foods can increase your immune system.
N：We manufacturers who utilize lactobassilus wish to improve people’s health with our products. Regrettably, those suffering from problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure must have only limited contact with our products, so whatever good bacteria may be in the product, they are unable to eat or drink it so cannot gain the benefits. This is due to the sugar content and amount of fats, so medical professionals recommend avoiding it.。 After I finished working at Chichiyasu, rather than yoghurt, lactobillus bacteria filled my thoughts. I wanted to find a way of turning lactobillus reuteri into a tablet or capsule to sell to hospitals. Lactobillus reuteri has a high level of trust around the world, because it is a lactic bacteria supported by a high degree of evidence. Within the medical world of doctors and hospitals it is a familiar product, but it has yet to become a consumer product.
E：Your company wanted to create a product to support people’s immune systems using Lactobasillus reuteri.
N：The company sells germs and microbes, that is to say bacteria. At the moment companies are working to create cures for diseases that are currently impervious to medicine. Alzheimers and other cognitive impairments are well known problems that modern medicine is currently unable to cure. However, the bacteria and viruses inside our bodies are slowly passing on clues to solving them. That said, we are still only halfway there. 90% of cells in the human body are micro organism cells. Further, 99% of the genetic material in the human body is related to micro-organisms. The genes that are the source of us make up no more than 1%! What we commonly think of as our body is actually the accumulation of micro-organisms. If you look at things from the perspective of micro-organisms, our bodies are their homes, where they live and breed. ]Looking at it this way, it doesn’t feel like our bodies truly belong to us. So when a problem occurs, rather than thinking about it as applying medical treatment to our body, we should think about it as using the treatment to influence the micro-organisms that reside in our bodies. Until now this has been a black box field of research, but with modern methods we are able to make many discoveries. This is the same for Parkinsons or cancer. For example, that there are so much bacteria residing in the human body. Discovering new medicinal techniques is what makes it a joy to work within the micro-organism industry. I would like to make a world where babies do not suffer from severe stomach aches, and parents do not have the stress of being kept awake for hours on end by night crying. A world where people reap the benefits of strong immune systems, supported by the use of lactobasillus reuteri to maintain the balance of intestinal bacteria.
E：Thank you for this glorious view of the future.
N：No, thank you having me.
◆Keitaro Nomura Profile
Born in Hiroshima Born 5th eldest son of the Chichiyasu Corporation During study at Chuei University Law Department, set up an International Trade Company at the age of 20. Nation Operations Director at Chichiyasu Listed Company・Promoted to Director in charge of company rejuvenation in 2003 After clearing 2.4 million dollars of debt, left the company in 2006. Same year joined BioGaia Listed Company as director of operations
BioGaia Japan Public Site：https://www.biogaia.jp/
You can purchase products which include lactobillus reiteri here. https://www.biogaia.jp/product/
The Lactobillus Reuteri Yoghurt, Good Morning Milk (Ohayo gyunyu) can be purchased in supermarkets.