Study: Combination of probiotics and enzymes aids absorption of plant-based protein

By Olivia DeSmit

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / DrAfter123
Getty Images / DrAfter123

Related tags Probiotics absorption Gut health

A combination of pea protein, enzymes and probiotics tended to reduce time to maximum blood absorption for all amino acids but showed only statistically significant results for alanine and glycine, according to a recent study.

"[T]he current study could provide an inkling of a positive alteration in protein digestibility, amino acid absorption and gut microbiome with regular consumption of protein and enzymes-probiotics blend," researchers from Advanced Enzymes Technologies Ltd and Leucine Rich Bio Pvt. Ltd in India wrote in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Referencing previous studies, they suggested that combining a protein of choice with a blend of enzymes and probiotics could provide and alternate approach to enhancing protein digestibility and amino acid bioavailability.

"Regular consumption of pea protein could offer a series of benefits including muscle growth, weight management, diabetes management and healthy heart functions," they added.

Study details

The randomized, double blind, crossover clinical trial included 15 participants between of the ages of 18 to 35 years, who consumed either the supplement (Pepzyme Pro provided as sample by Specialty Enzymes and Probiotics, Chino, USA) or a placebo for 15 days. The supplement used contained proteolytic enzymes from Aspergillus niger​ and probiotics, including Bacillus coagulans​, clausii​ and subtilis​ and Lactobacillus acidophilus​ and plantarum​. Both the test supplement and placebo contained 30 g of pea protein.

Results were analyzed via changes in amino acid absorption and gut microbiota through various measures including blood and stool samples.

The results showed changes in low taxonomic level microbiome profiles but not higher orders. There was a tendency to reduce time to maximum blood absorption for all amino acids, with statistically significant reductions for alanine and glycine. No changes in urine or fecal nitrogen levels or serum CRP levels were observed.

In addition, the study noted an absence of positive effect on amino acid absorption on day one, showing that probiotics aid the process rather than enzyme supplementation alone.

Because higher order microbiome profile changes were not found, the authors called for a larger study with a bigger sample size, as well as a detailed gut microbiome analysis as next step.

"Consumption of the supplement for 15 consecutive days demonstrated the likelihood of augmenting the absorption of total amino acids and maximum concentration, as well as the tendency to reduce the time required to reach the maximum concentration in the blood," the study concluded. "These results illustrated the possibility of enzymes-probiotics blend to positively alter the pea protein digestion and absorption."

Source: Frontiers in Nutrition
“Study of amino acids absorption and gut microbiome on consumption of pea protein blended with enzymes-probiotics supplement”
Authors: Rathi, A. et al.

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