A combination of probiotic strains and prebiotic fibre may reduce the incidence of childhood infections by about 25 per cent, according to a new study from Lallemand.
Results of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study presented at the Vitafoods show at PalExpo in Geneva indicated that supplementation with three probiotic strains and prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS) reduced ear-nose-throat (ENT), bronchopulmonary or gastric disorder during the winter.
The study used Lallemand’s synbiotic ProbioKid, which contains Lactobacillus Rosell-52, Bifidocterium Rosell-71, Bifidobacterium Rosell-33 and FOS. NutraIngredients.com has not seen the full data.
“Our study strongly supports a positive effect of ProbioKidin the prevention of infectious episodes in children, and even though we do not have a clear picture of the synbiotic modes of action, it is clear that its benefits are linked to the strains used and the product formula, and these benefits cannot be extrapolated to other products,” said Dr Jean-Charles Kerihuel, from Vertical (Paris, France), who presented the clinical study at Vitafoods International.
According to FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host". Prebiotics are "nondigestible substances that provide a beneficial physiological effect on the host by selectively stimulating the favourable growth or activity of a limited number of indigenous bacteria".
French researchers recruited 135 healthy, school-age children who had suffered from at least three episodes of ENT, bronchopulmonary or gastric disorder during the course of the previous winter, and randomly assigned them to receive the synbiotic supplement, or placebo, for three months.
According to Lallemand, at the end of the study, half of the children in the synbiotic group did not develop any ENT, bronchopulmonary or gastric disorder during the winter, compared to only 33 per cent in the placebo group. This was equivalent to a 25 per cent reduction in the relative risk of infectious disease, compared to the placebo group.
In addition, a 16 per cent fewer children in the synbiotic group missed at least one day of school, said the company.
Speaking to NutraIngredients.com, Henri Durand, scientific director for Lallemand, said: “There are many probiotics on the market, but not all probiotics are the same, and each strain has its own benefits. For this particular case, we selected the strains on the basis of immune response on human cell lines in vitro, and then we have done pre-clinical studies on animal models of infections, on the strains first and then on the combination of the three strains, and also on the combination with the prebiotic to finally come to the ProbioKid product.”