While researching the impact of probiotic yogurt on digestive health in mice, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology noticed that the animals' fur had become "stunningly shiny," says study director Susan E. Erdman.
They eventually found that mice fed either the yogurt or purified probiotic bacteria had improvements in hair's growth and luster compared with mice on a control diet, and their skin was younger-looking and more luminous.
This may be a display of reproductive fitness, as the female mice with shiny hair also had lower pH levels, which have been linked to increased fertility, Erdman explains. Though human studies are needed, "I wouldn't be surprised if there was a similar effect in people," she says, noting that the mice consumed the equivalent of a cup of yogurt with live cultures daily. It seems that the bacteria cause changes to the immune system and hormones that can affect skin and hair, she adds.
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