Probiotic yoghurt does not alter overall microbiota makeup: Study

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Probiotic yoghurt, Bacteria

Probiotic strains in the gut increase with probiotic yoghurt but no overall change in microbiota
Probiotic strains in the gut increase with probiotic yoghurt but no overall change in microbiota
Probiotic yoghurt increases the presence of certain probiotic strains, but does not change the overall microbiota makeup, according to research by Laval University.

A study published in the journal Phrama Nutrition by Filteau et al.​ found that probiotic yoghurt increased the presence of certain probiotic strains in the gut, as has been previously shown. However, it found no alterations in the full microbiota through probiotic yoghurt consumption.

Is no effect a good or bad thing?

Whether or not that is a good thing is a matter of debate. Some suggest that an increase in specific probiotic strains has some beneficial effect and that entirely changing the microbiota makeup would negatively impact functionality.

Others argue that raising a single species of probiotics has no effect on health and only changing the entire makeup of the gut ecosystem will help to derive benefits.

One of the authors of the present study Denis Roy, professor of Food Science and Nutrition at Laval University told NutraIngredients: “If the overall microbiota makeup is unchanged, it does not mean that probiotic yoghurt is ineffective since it could have metabolic effects. More studies are needed.”

He added: “Probiotics have no adverse effects, as reducing bacteria diversity of the intestinal microbiota.”

Method

Under the study, 58 Canadian volunteers were told to eat either commercial probiotic yoghurts or a placebo daily for four weeks.

Fecal sample analysis showed no difference in profile variation between the placebo and probiotic yoghurt consumption.

The research was funded by Canadian yoghurt maker Aliments Ultima.

The finding supports earlier research by Jeffrey Gordon​ at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, which found that probiotic yogurt did not modify the composition of  gut microbial communities.

However, changes in numerous metabolic pathways was observed in another previous study by by McNulty et al. ​(2011).

Source:
PharmaNutrition (Article In Press)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phanu.2013.05.002
‘Molecular monitoring of fecal microbiota in healthy adults following probiotic yogurt intake’
Authors: Marie Filteau, Sébastien Matamoros, Patricia Savard, Denis Roy

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4 comments

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Question

Posted by S Myers,

Would be interested to see if killing off the microbiota perhaps with antibiotics and then giving yogurt has beneficial effect to final makeup? Or, after a certain period, the person eventually returns to the previous microbiota makeup. Perhaps simply giving yogurt to a person cannot easily change the existing microbiota makeup.

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Immune modulation

Posted by Susan Kath About Nutrition,

My understanding is that although probiotics/ probiotic yoghurt do not change the overall microbiota they do still attenuate and modulate the immune system and may also have other positive health benefits such as weight management & therefore remain beneficial. Ultimately increasing prebiotics in the diet to promote healthy balanced microorganisms & decreasing substances that promote overgrowth of less helpful bacteria is the best way to improve gut flora balance.

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Question

Posted by Clint Bauer,

Hi there, interesting stuff, thanks for posting! My question is.. was the study done using pasturised dairy yogurt? Maybe the negative effects to health from dairy played a part in the results?
I don't eat dairy so I read a lot about alternatives such as coconut milk yogurt and things like that. To make that, probiotic tablets are required and some recipes call for grass-fed gelatin which has a lot of health benefits. So my guess would be that a non-dairy variety could actually include more good bacteria? I'm no expert though!

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