In a study involving researchers from International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), findings revealed a probiotics blend of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi-07 given over 30-days resulted in the symptom reduction observed in children.
“We are thrilled to further confirm the connection between probiotic supplementation and healthy immune response in children,” says Dr Liisa Lehtoranta, R&D Manager at IFF, which recently finalised a merger with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.
“This research propels us to further examine how we can continue to use probiotic bacteria to stimulate innate immune response in children and adults alike”
The study, which also involved a University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health team, taps into current scientific consensus that thinks probiotic effects on immunomodulation are strain specific.
The combination of L. acidophilus NCFM (NCFM) and Bifidobacterium animalis spp. lactis Bi-07 (Bi-07) has been a blend of particular interest due to complimentary immunomodulatory properties particularly for upper respiratory infections (URI).
Viral URI may also be a trigger for acute episodes of wheezing and exacerbations of reactive airways disease and asthma.
However, there remains limited evidence as to how probiotics affect children’s immune system and whether the probiotic alters immune system function so as to decrease frequency and severity of viral URIs.
The team enrolled 23 healthy children aged 13-36 months to the pilot open label clinical trial. Here, the children were given IFF’s ‘Howaru Protect Kids’ probiotic blend (10bn colony forming units per day of NCFM and Bi-07) for 30 days.
During this period, the team took blood samples from the children at the beginning and at the end of the study.
These samples were used to isolate peripheral blood monocytic cells (PBMCs), a term used to describe immune cells that have a round nucleus. Studies suggest PBMCs may be susceptible to pathogenic and viral infections
These immune cells were stimulated with a molecule that mimics a respiratory virus and then the cells’ immune response (specifically cytokines and chemokines) to this stimulus was measured.
The magnitude of immune response was compared between baseline prior probiotic intervention and after 30-days intervention.
The team found supplementation with the probiotic blend was safe and resulted in ‘significant modulation’ of PBMC limited immune response to the molecule (TLR7/8 agonist R848) and in levels of the cytokine MPIF-1 and chemokine MIP-3α.
“Daily supplementation with NCFM and Bi-07 has a limited but significant effect on peripheral blood innate immune function in response to TLR 7/8 agonist in children 13-36 months of age,” the team wrote.
“After one month of supplementation, PBMC responses were significantly decreased for the cytokine MPIF-1 when stimulated with R848.”
The researchers added that when the immune markers were statistically analysed by categorising them as pro- or anti-inflammatory, the impact of probiotic on R848 stimulated PBMCs was to exert an anti-inflammatory effect; namely an increase in IL-10 combined with a decrease in MPIF-1, MIP-3α, IL-8, IP-10 and E-selectin.
“This effect may provide a mechanism by which probiotics ameliorate symptoms in viral upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, but further studies are needed to investigate this effect,” the study concludes.
“We have seen parents be very enthusiastic about giving a probiotic supplement to their children,” adds Dr Gregory DeMuri, a professor and infectious disease researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Pediatrics.
“In this study, children who took a daily probiotic supplement showed an increase in immune functions that are believed to be involved with fighting cold viruses.”
Source: Beneficial Microbes
Published online: doi.org/10.3920/BM2020.0068 (in press)
“Ex vivo peripheral blood mononuclear cell response to R848 in children after supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM/Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07.”
Authors: G. DeMuri et al.