Probiotics again show immune boosting activity: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Probiotics again show immune boosting activity: Study

Related tags Immune system Gut flora Probiotic Researcher

Daily supplementation with beneficial bacterial strains may boost measures of immune function by about 50%, say new findings from Chr. Hansen.

According to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition​, a daily supplements of Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ (BB-12) or Lactobacillus paracasei​ ssp. paracasei​ (L. casei 431) were associated with 66% and 46% increases in levels of the antibody IgG3.

“The outcomes of this study, as well as data from previous studies on BB-12 and L. casei 431, show that supplementation with these probiotic strains result in a strengthening of various parts of the immune system,”​ said Birgit Michelsen, director of scientific affairs, Health & Nutrition Division at Chr. Hansen.

“This will very likely translate into a clinical benefit, such as reduced rates of infection.”

The study was funded by the Danish company, and conducted in collaboration with Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, the University of Milan, and the University of Southampton.

Vaccine challenge

Results were based on a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study involving 211 subjects. The researchers used a vaccine challenge.

Earlier this year, co-researcher of the study, Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology at the University of Southampton in the UK told​ that immune measures in response to a vaccine challenge were amongst the most meaningful for immune health.

Study details

The researcher randomly assigned the study participants to receive daily supplements of BB-12 or L.casei​ 431 (a minimum of one billion colony forming units) or placebo for six weeks.

After two weeks of supplementation, the volunteers received a seasonal ‘flu vaccine. Four weeks later, the researchers recorded substantial increases in ‘flu antibodies in the probiotic groups, compared with the placebo group.

The researchers also noted similar results for total antibody concentrations.

According the FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host"​.

The study was welcomed by Lars Bredmose, marketing director, Probiotic Cultures for Chr. Hansen. “Food manufacturers as well as dietary supplements producers observe an increasing consumer interest in probiotics with credible, scientifically documented health benefits,”​ he said.

Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, FirstView Articles​, doi:10.1017/S000711451100420X
“Evaluation of the immune benefits of two probiotic strains Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis, BB-12 and Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei, L. casei 431 in an influenza vaccination model; a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study”
Authors: G. Rizzardini, D. Eskesen, P.C. Calder, A. Capetti, L. Jespersen, M. Clerici

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