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Supporting women’s health with probiotics

Vaginal microbiome intervention through probiotic complex could improve women’s quality of life and reduce chronic suffering.

The gut microbiota includes a very important group of friendly bacteria of which Lactobacilli and Bifidobacateria are two key members that can promote general health and wellbeing of the host. Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. These organisms favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance, promote intestinal integrity and mobility, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, increase resistance to infection and should possess properties like survival in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, persistence in the host and proven safety for consumer. Attention is growing related to new applications because of the incoming evidence correlated between probiotic activity and gut health and other body areas. Recently, innovative approaches are growing such as skin-related (acne, dermatitis and atopic skins) or defense and prevention against allergies.

The microbiome era opens the way to a better understanding of microbes’ world and related issues. While microbes can be responsible for disease, many of them work collectively in a symbiotic relationship with the human host to perform specific functions that promote and maintain health.

Vaginal health in particular is strictly associated with the presence of Lactobacillus species in vaginal microbiota. A perturbed microbiota, where dominant Lactobacillus species are overwhelmed by exogenous or minority ones, characterizes most uro-genital tract infections.

Every year, vaginal and urinary issues severely affect the quality of life for an estimated 300 million women worldwide. They are often associated with severe diseases, infertility and pregnancy complications. Dysbiosis is a condition characterized by a perturbed or imbalanced microbiota. Several factors may influence microbiota composition, ranging from lifestyle habits to hormonal changes, to the use of therapeutic compounds or to the spread of infective microorganisms. Antibiotic treatment is the standard therapy for symptomatic infections, but sometimes fails to prevent recurrences.

Instead, probiotics may offer a unique solution. ROELMI developed a novel food supplement for women’s intimate healthcare (Intimique™ Femme), based on a patented and proprietary probiotic complex (L. plantarum PBS067, L. rhamnosus LRH020 and B. lactis BL050) to counteract urogenital issues affecting women’s quality of life.

Two clinical trials have investigated the ability of the probiotic strains to colonize human vaginal epithelium after oral administration (Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2017;295[1]:163-172), and the efficacy in restoring healthy vaginal microbiota after antibiotic treatment and in reducing BV recurrence rate (manuscript in preparation). Researchers reported that women who followed a supplementation program with the probiotic complex (3 billion CFU per daily dose for 14 consecutive days) showed a significant reduction in recurrence rate in the following month—from 50 percent (reference group and bibliographic data) to 22 percent (active group). Objective physician examination and vaginal wet mount microscopy supported this result, showing greater microbiota restoration and general symptom improvement in the active group compared to reference group. After following four administration cycles (1-week treatment/month), recurrence rate was reduced from 44 percent in the negative control to 16 percent in the probiotic group.

Vaginal microbiome intervention through probiotic complex could improve women’s quality of life and reduce chronic suffering, a new opportunity for personalizing health and disease management through probiotic supplements targeting the vaginal microbiome.

Cristiana Piangiolino, Ph.D., is the market manager, nutraceutical, at ROELMI HPC. ROELMI HPC is presenting a session, “Oral multispecies probiotic supplement to colonize vaginal epithelium, restore healthy vaginal microbiota and reduce recurrence rate of bacterial vaginosis,” on Friday, Nov. 9, as part of the IPA Probiotics Resource Center at SupplySide West.

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