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Probiotics can induce wound-healing, combat fatigue and improve athletic performance. These “good bacteria” are also beneficial in arthritis, they improve oral health, and combat aging, candida and cancer.

Probiotic Four Part Series

37) Probiotics are Beneficial in Patients Receiving Hemodialysis

Oral administration of B. longum decreases serum phosphate levels in patients receiving haemodialysis (HD) (R).

The administration of B. longum can also decrease the concentrations of indoxyl sulfate and P-cresol in HD patients (R,R).

In addition, Bifidobacteria produce vitamin B12 and folate, which can normalize serum homocysteine levels in HD patients (R).

38) Probiotics Enhance Wound Healing

L. plantarum reduced the bacterial load of infected chronic venous ulcer wound, reduces neutrophils, apoptotic and necrotic cells, and induced wound healing in both diabetics and non-diabetics (R).

Topical treatment with a water-insoluble glucan from S. cerevisiae enhanced venous ulcer healing in humans. In a patient who had an ulcer that would not heal for over 15 years, this treatment caused a 67.8% decrease in the area of the ulcer (R).

Supplementing the rat microbiome with L. reuteri in drinking water cuts wound-healing time in half compared to control animals (R).

39) Probiotics Combat Toxins and Pollutants


Look for: L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, L. casei

Dietary exposure to heavy metals may have detrimental effects on human and animal health, even at low concentrations. L. rhamnosus, P. freudenreichii and their combination were found to bind cadmium and lead efficiently at low concentration ranges commonly observed in foods (R).

Furthermore, dietary supplementation with L. rhamnosus reduced the absorption and toxicity of consumed organophosphate pesticides in Drosophila (R).

L. plantarum alleviates cadmium (Cd) – induced cytotoxicity in the human intestinal cells and mice in the laboratory (R,R).

L. plantarum protects against aluminum toxicity in mice, by reducing intestinal aluminum absorption and tissue accumulation, and ameliorating liver damage, kidney, and brain oxidative stress (R).

Treatment with L. plantarum alleviates copper toxicity, by increasing copper excretion and reducing the accumulation of copper in tissues. L. plantarum also reversed oxidative stress induced by copper exposure, recovered the ALT and AST blood levels and improved the spatial memory of mice (R).

L. casei  and L. helveticus can bind to and inactivate heterocyclic aromatic amines (HACs), the most abundant mutagens in fried red meat, decreasing their concentration and their toxicity (R,R).

L. casei  decreases the cytotoxic effects of pesticides on human cells (R).

L. casei  supplementation reduces the level of aflatoxin in blood, and can improve the adverse effect on body weight and blood parameters in rats (R,R). A fermented milk drink containing L. casei may reduce aflatoxin toxicity in humans (R).

L. paracasei  reduced the adverse effects of Zearalenone (ZEN), an estrogenic toxin produced by Fusarium fungi species in pre- or post-harvest cereals in mice (R).

Organophosphorus hydrolase (OpdB) of L. brevis is able to degrade organophosphorus pesticides (R).

S. cerevisiae possesses the ability to bind and degrade mycotoxins (R). S. cerevisiae improved weight gain and reduced genotoxicity of aflatoxin in mice fed with contaminated corn (R).

40) Probiotics Reduce MSG

Capsules containing L. brevis reduce monosodium glutamate (MGS) levels and MSG symptom complex in humans (R).

L. brevis inhibits the absorption of MSG from the intestine into the blood in mice (R).

41) Probiotics May Increase Testosterone Levels

L. reuteri  sustains youthful serum testosterone levels and testicular size in aging mice (R,R).

A probiotic containing L. acidophilus, B. bifidum and L. helveticus elevates testosterone levels in rabbits (R).

42) Probiotics May increase Oxytocin

L. reuteri  increases the levels of the “feel good” hormone oxytocin (R).

43) Probiotics Combat Fatigue


Look for: L. acidophilus and L. gasseri

L. acidophilus reverses immune dysfunction in fatigued athletes (R).

L. acidophilus decreases chronic fatigue following exercise and attenuates stress in rats (R).

L. gasseri  prevents the reduction in natural killer (NK) cell activity due to strenuous exercise and elevates mood from a depressed state in university-student athletes (R).

L. gasseri  and αLA alleviate minor resting fatigue in university-student athletes after strenuous exercise (R).

44) Probiotics Enhance Muscle Recovery and Boost Athletic Performance


B. coagulans enhances protein absorption, and thereby indirectly improves recovery and training adaptations (R).

B. coagulans in combination with protein reduced muscle damage and soreness, improved recovery and maintained physical performance in athletes after strenuous exercise (R).

Increase in vertical jump power was noted following 8 weeks of full body workouts 4-times per week daily while ingesting B. coagulans (R).

Four weeks of supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic increased running time to fatigue in the heat in male runners (R).

L. plantarum significantly decreased body weight and increased relative muscle weight, grip strength and endurance swimming time in mice (R).

45) Probiotics Ameliorate Arthritis


Human Studies:

L. casei  supplementation helps alleviate symptoms and improve inflammatory cytokines in women with rheumatoid arthritis (R).

A mix of L. acidophilus, L. casei  and B. bifidum improved rheumatoid arthritis, decreased insulin levels, and improved total- and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels (R).

Adjunctive treatment with B. coagulans was safe and effective for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. B. coagulans improved pain, improved self-assessed disability, reduced CRP levels, and improved the ability to walk 2 miles, reach, and participate in daily activities (R).

Animal Studies:

L.casei  protects mice from autoimmune arthritis (R), and consumption of L. casei  prior to infection abolishes intestinal and joint inflammation triggered by Salmonella in mice (R).

L. casei  positively contributes to osteoarthritis treatment in rats, by reducing pain, inflammatory responses, and articular cartilage degradation. L. casei  together with glucosamine decreased expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases, while up-regulating anti-inflammatory cytokines (R).

Similarly, L. casei  effectively suppressed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in rats: paw swelling, lymphocyte infiltration and destruction of cartilage tissues. Anti-inflammatory cytokines were increased, while pro-inflammatory cytokines were decreased (R,R,R).

Oral intake of skimmed milk fermented with L. delbrueckii  ssp. bulgaricus markedly inhibits the development of arthritis in mice (R).

L. acidophilus decreases arthritis symptoms and maintains normal histology of reproductive organs in rats (R).

L. acidophilus showed effects comparable to the drug indomethacin, in decreasing organ damage associated with arthritis in rats. This probiotic down-regulated pro-inflammatory and up-regulated anti-inflammatory cytokines (R).

L. helveticus strongly alleviated symptoms of arthritis in mice (R).

B. coagulans significantly inhibits fibrinogen (Fn), blood amyloid A and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in arthritic rats (R).

46) Probiotics are Beneficial for Dental Health


Probiotics are beneficial for managing gingivitis or periodontitis (R).

L. rhamnosus reduces oral counts of Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium correlated with caries formation (R).

L. casei  has a bactericidal effect on all analyzed species isolated from dental plaque, while the mix culture of L. acidophilus and B. animalis has only a bacteriostatic effect (R).

S. thermophilus inhibits the growth of P. gingivalis, and reduced the emission of volatile sulfur compounds that can cause oral malodor (R).

A bacteriocin produced by L. paracasei  inhibits P. gingivalis associated with periodontal disease (R).


Human Studies:

Long-term consumption of L. rhamnosus containing milk reduces caries development in children (R).

Heat-killed L. plantarum can decrease the depth of periodontal pockets in patients undergoing supportive periodontal therapy (R).

Oral administration of L. casei  reduced the number of pathogenic (periodontopathic) bacteria in healthy volunteers with mild to moderate gum inflammation (periodontitis) (R).

L. salivarius beneficially changed the bacterial population of gum plaque in volunteers (R).

L. salivarius increases resistance to caries risk factors in volunteers (R).

Oral administration of L. salivarius improved bad breath, showed beneficial effects on bleeding on probing from the periodontal pocket, and inhibited the reproduction of “bad” bacteria (R,R,R,R).

Oral L. paracasei  significantly reduced salivary S. mutans (R,R,R), and increased Lactobacilli in adults (R).

L. brevis improves pH, significantly reduces salivary mutans streptococci and bleeding on probing in high caries risk schoolchildren (R).

L. brevis has anti-inflammatory effects and can bring about the total disappearance or amelioration of clinical symptoms in patients with periodontitis (R).

L. brevis exerts anti-inflammatory properties by preventing nitric oxide synthesis and may delay gingivitis development in humans (R).

B. subtilis reduces periodontal pathogens in humans (R).

Oral L. reuteri  containing tablets significantly reduced inflammation in patients with chronic periodontitis (R).

Animal Studies:

L. brevis inhibits periodontal inflammation, significantly decreases bone loss and lowers the count of anaerobic bacteria in mice with periodontitis (R).

B. subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis supplementation provided a protective effect against bone loss in rats with periodontitis (R).

S. cerevisiae, as monotherapy or as an adjuvant, accelerated the tissue-repair process and ameliorated periodontitis in rats (R).

47) Probiotics can Improve Lung Injury and Inflammation

B. longum treatment significantly improved lung injury following infection and sepsis in mice. This probiotic also decreased lung inflammatory responses (R).

48) Probiotics are Beneficial in Smokers

Cigarette smoking reduces natural killer cell (NK cell) activity. L. casei  intake prevented the smoke-dependent NK activity reduction in Italian male smokers (R).

In healthy shift workers, L. casei  reduced the total number of clinical infectious diseases (CIDs) in the subgroup of smokers (R).

B. breve suppresses inflammatory agents in macrophages and may be useful in cigarette smoke-associated disease such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (R).

L. salivarius improved periodontal clinical parameters in smokers (R).

49) Probiotics are Good for the Bones

Bone is an organ that the gut has long been known to regulate through absorption of calcium, the key bone mineral (R).

Administration of probiotics leads to higher bone mineralization and greater bone strength in animals. The preferential bacterial genus that has shown these beneficial effects in bone is Lactobacillus (R).

L. helveticus increased serum calcium level in geriatric volunteers (R).

L. helveticus fermented milk whey contains bioactive components that increase bone formation (R).

L. helveticus-fermented milk prevented bone loss by decreasing bone turnover and increasing the bone mineral density in rats (R,R).

B. longum supplementation alleviated bone loss, and increased bone formation parameters and bone mass density in ovariectomized rats (R).

50) Probiotics Boost Female Fertility

L. plantarum ameliorated inflammation induced infertility in mice (R).

L. plantarum reinforced natural microflora and lead to a resurge of fertility in mice infected with E. coli (R).

51) Probiotics are Beneficial in Endometriosis

L. gasseri  improves menstrual pain and dysmenorrhea in patients with endometriosis (R).

L. gasseri  inhibits the growth of endometrial tissue in the abdominal cavity in mice and rats (R).

52) Probiotics are Beneficial in Pregnancy


Use of a specific set of probiotics during the first 1,500 days of life can lower the risk of infections and inflammatory events in infants (R).

L. rhamnosus affects the immune regulation and immune responses favorably in mothers and offspring. In addition, some of the beneficial effects of prenatal L. rhamnosus supplementation extend into postnatal life of the offspring, suggesting a possible immunoprogramming effect of L. rhamnosus (R).

Prenatal supplementation with L. rhamnosus has been reported to change the composition of the newborn microbiota, promoting a beneficial profile dominated by Bifidobacteria (R).

The intake of milk fermented with L. casei  during the lactation period modestly contributes to the modulation of the mother’s immunological response after delivery, and decreases the incidence of gastrointestinal episodes in the breastfed child (R).

B. animalis spp. lactis supplementation in pregnancy has the potential to influence fetal immune parameters as well as immunomodulatory factors in breast milk (R).

B. animalis ssp. lactis mitigates the negative immune-related effects of not breastfeeding and cesarean delivery by augmenting the immune response, evidenced by increased anti-rotavirus- and anti-poliovirus-specific IgA (R).

Oral administration of L. salivarius during late pregnancy appears to be an efficient method to prevent breast infection in pregnant women (R).

L. acidophilus, L. casei and B. bifidum significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose, insulin levels, and insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity in pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus. In addition, significant decreases in serum triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol concentrations were recorded (R).

B. coagulans containing symbiotic decreased blood insulin levels, HOMA-IR and HOMA-B in pregnant women (R).

Preeclampsia is associated with impaired antioxidant defense that results in maternofetal complications. S. cerevisiae scavenged nitric oxide radicals and decreased oxidative stress in red blood cells and alleviated stress status in the preeclamptic fetus (R).

Continuous consumption of fermented milk containing L. casei  alleviates constipation-related symptoms, provides satisfactory bowel habit and results in earlier recovery from hemorrhoids in women after childbirth (R).

L. fermentum  alleviates pain and reduces the load of Staphylococcus in the breastmilk of women suffering from painful breastfeeding (R).

53) Probiotics have a Positive Effect on Infant Growth


B. animalis spp. lactis supplementation had a positive effect on growth in vulnerable infants, such as infants born to mothers with HIV (R), and preterm infants (R).

B. breve significantly decreased aspirated air volume and improved weight gain in very low birth weight infants (R).

L. plantarum strain maintained the growth of infant mice during chronic undernutrition (R).

54) Probiotics Improve Feeding Tolerance

Preterm infants supplemented with B. coagulans had improved feeding tolerance (R).

Prophylactic supplementation of S. boulardii  improved weight gain, improved feeding tolerance, and had no adverse effects in preterm infants >30 weeks old (R).

Orally administered S. boulardii  reduced feeding intolerance and clinical sepsis in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants (R).

55) Probiotics are Beneficial in Aging


Human Studies:

Levels of Bifidobacteria decrease as we age (R).


B. animalis spp. lactis beneficially modifies gut microbiota in elderly, by increasing Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and Enterococci and reducing Enterobacteria (R).

B. animalis spp. lactis can enhance natural immunity in healthy elderly subjects (R). B. animalis spp. lactis increases leukocyte phagocytic and NK cell tumor-cell-killing activity in the elderly and increases the proportions of total, helper (CD4(+)), and activated (CD25(+)) T lymphocytes and natural killer cells (R,R,R).

B. longum stimulates the immune functions in the elderly (R).

B. bifidum and L. acidophilus positively modulate of the immunological and inflammatory response in elderly subjects (R).

L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus could favor the maintenance of an adequate immune response in the elderly, mainly by slowing the aging of the T-cell subpopulations and increasing the number of immature T cells which are potential responders to new antigens (R).

L. acidophilus increases Bifidobacteria levels and beneficially changes microbiota in elderly subjects (R).

Heat-killed L. gasseri  enhances immunity in the elderly. This probiotic increases the number of CD8(+) T cells and reduces CD28 expression loss in CD8(+) T cells (R).

Animal Studies:

Feeding of probiotic bacteria (L. reuteri) to aged mice induced integumentary changes mimicking peak health and reproductive fitness characteristic of much younger animals (R).

Probiotic Dahi with L. lactis, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum reversed age related decline in expression of biomarkers of ageing, PPAR-α, SMP-30 and klotho in hepatic and kidney tissues in mice (R).

L. lactis along with L. acidophilus or combined with L. acidophilus and B. bifidum reversed age related decline in immune functions and improve lymphocyte functions in ageing mice (R).

Heat-killed L. gasseri  increases natural killer cell (NK cell) activities and enhances cell-mediated immunity in aged host animals, thereby altering age-related immunosenescence (R).

Dahi containing L. acidophilus was effective in reversing age-related immune function decline in mice (R), where this probiotic also combats oxidative stress and molecular alterations associated with aging (R).

L. fermentum  alleviates immunosenescence by enhancing antioxidant enzyme activities, and was shown to reduce E. coli infection in aging mice (R).

L. johnsonii  helps recover nutritional status and systemic immune responses in aged mice (R).

Long-term oral intake of L. lactis suppressed the reduction of bone density and body weight in senescence-accelerated mice (R).

B. bifidum delays immunosenescence in mice by enhancing the anti-oxidation activity in thymus and spleen, and by improving the immune function (R).

Intake of heat-killed L. lactis altered the intestinal flora, affected plasma metabolite levels, including fatty acid levels, and slowed down age-related hearing loss in mice, by inhibiting the loss of neurons and hair cells in mouse inner ear (R).

In mice, L. reuteri  increased thyroid size and activity (increasing T4 levels), lessening the fatigue and weight gain associated with aging and causing a more youthful physical appearance (R).

56) Probiotics can Alleviate Pain

Oral administration of L. acidophilus induces the expression of mu-opioid and cannabinoid receptors in intestinal epithelial cells and mediates analgesic functions in the gut similar to the effects of morphine (R).

B. coagulans + fructooligosaccharide (FOS) decreased abdominal pain duration and frequency in children with GI disorders (R).

B. coagulans synbiotic seems to be effective in the treatment of childhood functional abdominal pain (R).

B. coagulans significantly improved abdominal pain and the quality of life in adults with postprandial intestinal gas-related symptoms and no GI diagnoses (R).

In animal models of gut pain, L. reuteri  has been shown to lower the activation of the nervous system and lessen pain (R,R).

L. reuteri  ingestion impacts the nerves in such a way that it may slow gut motility (improving cases of diarrhea) and decrease pain perception (R).

L. rhamnosus can attenuate neonatally induced chronic visceral pain, and significantly alters levels of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine in rats (R).

57) Probiotics can be Beneficial After Surgery

A symbiotic containing L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei, B. bifidum and fructooligosaccharides reduced postoperative mortality, lowered the incidence of postoperative infections, shortened the duration of antibiotic therapy, and decreased noninfectious complications, decreasing overall hospital stay in patients undergoing surgery for periampullary neoplasms (R).

Orally administered B. breve improved the intestinal environment, and suppressed bacterial translocation in pediatric surgical cases (R,R).

58) Probiotics Combat Candida

Clinical trials have shown the beneficial effects of probiotics in reducing oral, vaginal, and enteric colonization by Candida. Probiotics alleviate clinical signs and symptoms, and, in some cases, reduce the incidence of invasive fungal infection in critically ill patients (R).

In patients with vulvovaginal candidiasis, L. plantarum reduces vaginal discomfort after conventional treatment, improves vaginal bacteria content and the vaginal pH value (R).

In a clinical trial L. plantarum use was associated with a three-fold reduced risk of recurrence of vulvovaginal candidiasis (R).

L. fermentum and L. acidophilus maintain the vaginal biofilm and hinder the persistence of vulvovaginal infection caused by Candida in women (R).

L. reuteri  alone or with L. rhamnosus can inhibit the growth of Candida in the vagina (R,R).

L. rhamnosus has been shown to prevent enteric colonization by Candida species in preterm neonates (R).

Oral L. reuteri  supplementation was effective as nystatin in suppressing candidiasis in preterm infants and more effective at reducing the incidence of sepsis (R,R).

L. reuteri  lozenges were shown to fight oral candida in a study of older patients (R).

S. cerevisiae, when administered orally, colonizes the bowel of healthy volunteers and can potentially replace resident Candida species (R).

Vaginal administration of S. cerevisiae positively influences the course of vaginal candidiasis by accelerating the clearance of Candida (R).

See individual probiotic posts for more information and animal studies.

59) Probiotics May Protect from Heat Stress

Exposure to extreme heat can cause illnesses and injuries. B. subtilis was effective in the prevention of complications related to heat stress in rats. When rats were subjected to heat stress (45°C), adverse effects such as morphological changes in the intestine, bacterial translocation, elevated levels of LPS and IL-10, and increased vesiculation of erythrocytes were observed only in animals not protected with B. subtilis (R).

60) Probiotics May be Beneficial In HIV Infected Patients

Treatment with S. boulardii  decreases microbial translocation (LBP) and inflammation parameters in HIV-1-infected patients with long-term virologic suppression (R).

61) Probiotics Combat and Prevent Cancer


Probiotic bacteria have shown anti-tumor activities, and can reduce the risk of cancer. They are effective in delaying cancer onset and progression as well as in controlling cell growth mechanisms (R).

Studies in Humans:

Consumption of soy isoflavones in combination with L. casei  decreased the risk of breast cancer among Japanese women (R).

L. casei  administration significantly reduced the recurrence rate of bladder cancer and colorectal cancer in cancer patients (R).

Animal Studies:

L. rhamnosus has been shown to decrease the incidence of colon tumors and precancerous lesions in experimental animals as well as in human cells (R), and possess antitumor effects in animal models of bladder cancer (R).

L. plantarum enhances the anti-tumor immune response and delays tumor formation in mice with intestinal adenocarcinoma (R), and exhibits anti-colorectal cancer activities (R).

Long-term administration of L. plantarum is effective against breast cancer in rats (R,R), and inhibits the development of rat colon carcinogenesis (R).

L. casei  decreased cell migration and invasion of colorectal cancer cells (R,R), inhibited human and mouse colon cancer cell growth, and resulted in an 80% reduction in tumor volume of treated mice (R).

L. casei  delayed and suppressed tumor growth in mice with breast cancer, both when it was administered preventively and as a treatment. L. casei  further reduced tumor vascularity and lung metastasis, and prolonged survival (R,R,R).

Similarly, L. casei  decreased breast tumor volume and tumor vascularity in rats (R).

L. salivarius suppresses colon carcinogenesis (R), and inhibits oral cancer growth in rats (R).

L. delbrueckii  ssp. bulgaricus inhibits intestinal carcinogenesis in rats, ear-duct tumors in rats, and tracheal carcinogenesis in hamsters (R). This probiotic was also reported to inhibit the growth of sarcoma (R), leukemia, plasmacytoma, adenocarcinoma, melanosarcoma, and spontaneous tumors in mice (R).

L. acidophilus alters the cytokine production in tumor-bearing mice into a Th1 protective pattern, favorable to anti-tumor immunity (R).

L. acidophilus suppressed colon tumor incidence, tumor multiplicity, and reduced tumor size in mice (R).

Oral administration of L. acidophilus increased mouse survival (R), decreased tumor growth and increased lymphocyte proliferation in mice with breast tumors (R).

L. acidophilus reduced tumor volume growth by 50.3 %, reduced the severity of colonic carcinogenesis, and enhanced cancer cell death in mice (R).

L. helveticus inhibits the development of fibrosarcoma (R) and delays the development of breast tumors in mice (R).

Dietary B. longum significantly inhibited colon and liver and small intestinal tumors in male rats. In female rats, dietary supplementation also suppressed mammary carcinogenesis (R).

B. longum inhibits colorectal tumors in mice (R) and rats (R,R).

B. animalis ssp. lactis decreased the mean number and size of tumors in mice with colitis-associated cancer (R).

The synbiotic combination of carbohydrate ‘resistant starch‘ and B. animalis ssp. lactis protects against the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) in rats (R,R).

Heat-inactivated C. butyricum displays antitumor activity against sarcoma in mice (R) and inhibits the metastasis of melanoma by stimulating natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxic activity (R).

Furthermore, in mice, co-treatment with C. butyricum and B. subtilis inhibits the development of colorectal cancer (R).

An antitumor molecule derived from L. brevis inhibits colon adenocarcinoma cell viability and the growth of these cells in mice (R).

Mice with fibrosarcoma, treated by S. thermophilus were protected against this tumor when re-challenged. Additionally, spleen T-lymphocytes from cured animals could effectively transfer the antitumor activity to recipients transplanted with the tumor (R).

P. freudenreichii is able to kill colon cancer cells in rats (R).

62) Probiotics Could Reduce Toxins and Carcinogens in the Gut

In a cell-based study, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can bind to mold toxins that cause leaky gut and inflammation, thus prevent the negative effects of mold toxins on the gut cell (R, R2).

In rats, Lactobaccillus and other lactic acid bacteria can protect the gut and liver cells from cancer-causing chemicals that are found in foods like heterocyclic amines (R, R).

Probiotics can also reduce harm from aflatoxin, a mold toxin that is a potent live carcinogen in rats (R). In addition, probiotics can reduce biomarker of liver cancer risk in humans (R).

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Further Reading

For technical information, check individual probiotic chapters:

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