Twenty-five million people world-wide drink Yakult daily. The fermented milk drink contains billions of friendly bacteria, and since populating my intestines with good bacteria sounded like a good thing, I joined ’em.
Yakult is probably the most widely consumed probiotic drink in the world. In the 1920s, Dr. Minoru Shirota, a young Japanese scientist, focused his research on beneficial intestinal bacteria. After years of work, he succeeded in isolating one particularly hardy bacteria, Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS). Convinced that good intestinal health enhanced the immune system and improved over-all health, Dr. Shirota used the LcS strain to make Yakult in 1935.
Although the Japanese have been drinking Yakult for more than 70 years, the probiotic drink didn’t reach US shores until 1999. It was another ten years before the five-bottle-package, stamped “New!” showed up in the dairy section of my favorite HEB grocery store, where I discovered it last week.
Today more than 80,000 “Yakult ladies,” traveling by bicycle, deliver Yakult door-to-door. They haven’t made it to my neighborhood yet, so I’m off to the grocery store for more of the “little bottles” of good bacteria. It’s a gift to my gut.