September 7, 2011
MILANSupplementation with BB-12® or L. casei 431® (two probiotic strains from Chr. Hansen) improved immune function by augmenting systemic and mucosal immune responses in a recent study published online in the British Journal of Nutrition (DOI:10.1017/S000711451100420X).
Researchers lead by Giuliano Rizzardini, Department of Infective Diseases, Luigi Sacco Hospital, Milan, conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study with 211 subjects (56 percent females, mean age 33.2 years) who consumed a minimum of 109 colony-forming units (CFUs) of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis (BB-12) (capsule) or Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei (L. casei 431) (dairy drink) or a matching placebo once daily for six weeks. After two weeks, a seasonal influenza vaccination was given. Plasma and saliva samples were collected at baseline and after six weeks for the analysis of antibodies, cytokines and innate immune parameters.
Changes from baseline in vaccine-specific plasma IgG, IgG1 and IgG3 were significantly greater in both probiotic groups verses the corresponding placebo group (L. casei 431®, P=0·01 for IgG; P<0·001 for remaining comparisons). The number of subjects obtaining a substantial increase in specific IgG (at least twice as high as baseline) was significantly greater in both probiotic groups versus placebo (BB-12, P<0.001 for IgG, IgG1 and IgG3; L. casei 431, P<0.001 for IgG1 and IgG3). In the BB-12 group, 66 percent had a substantial increase in the specific antibody IgG3 compared to only 4 percent in the placebo group. Likewise, in the L. casei 431 group 46, percent had a substantial increase compared to just 2 percent in the placebo group.
Significantly greater mean fold increases for vaccine-specific secretory IgA in saliva were observed in both probiotic groups versus placebo (BB-12®, P=0·017; L. casei 431®, P = 0·035). Similar results were observed for total antibody concentrations. No differences were found for plasma cytokines or innate immune parameters.
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 Chr. Hansens Birgit Michelsen, director of scientific affairs, health and nutrition division. This will very likely translate into a clinical benefit, such as reduced rates of infection".
According to a Finnish study, controlled administration of BB-12 in early childhood may reduce respiratory infections.
Lars Bredmose, marketing director, probiotic cultures, Chr. Hansen, added, We are already successfully marketing powerful food and dietary supplements solutions, which contain BB-12 and L. casei 431, for consumer products supporting the immune system: probiotic yoghurt blends, chewable tablets, powder sticks, and capsules. We expect this study to further inspire international players in the food and supplements industries to launch probiotic products with evident health benefits."
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