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Over a century ago, Russian scientist Ilya Metchnikoff (aka Elie Metchnikov) began a life-altering study of a group of Bulgarian peasants. He was intrigued by their unusual longevity; despite primitive hygienic conditions, members of the group often lived to be a hundred years old. The mainstay of their diet was a soured milk product - something between buttermilk and yogurt - that was teeming with lactic acid bacteria. Metchnikoff opined that these microbes battled pathogenic, life-shortening bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.