Research capsule

Vital stats: Danisco probiotics and prebiotics

Study claim: A synbiotic combination for two weeks improved gut and immune health in those over age 65.

Published: Ouwehand AC, et al. Influence of a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and lactitol on healthy elderly: intestinal and immune parameters. Br J Nutr 2009 Mar;101(3):367-75.

Abstract: With increasing age, a number of physiological changes take place that are reflected in immune and bowel function. These changes may relate to the commonly assumed age- related changes in intestinal microbiota, most noticeably a reduction in bifidobacteria.

The current study aimed at modifying the intestinal microbiota with a potential synbiotic effect on selected immune and microbiota markers. Healthy elderly subjects were randomised to consume either a placebo (sucrose) or a combination of lactitol and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM twice daily in a double-blind parallel trial for two weeks.

After the intervention, stool frequency was higher in the synbiotic group than in the placebo group and a significant increase in faecal L. acidophilus NCFM levels was observed in the synbiotic group, after baseline correction. In contrast to the generally held opinion, the study subjects had faecal bifidobacterium levels that were similar to those reported in healthy young adults. These levels were, nevertheless, significantly increased by the intervention. Levels of short-chain fatty acids were not changed significantly. Of the measured immune markers, PGE2 levels were different between treatments and IgA levels changed over time. These changes were modest, which may relate to the fact that the volunteers were healthy. Spermidine levels changed over time, which may suggest an improved mucosal integrity and intestinal motility.

The results suggest that consumption of lactitol combined with L. acidophilus NCFM twice daily may improve some markers of the intestinal microbiota composition and mucosal functions.

Potential applications: For elderly and digestive-health products, including confectionery applications such as chocolate bars, coatings, fillings, nutrition-bar chips and as inclusions in cereal and ice cream.

More info:
+1 800 255 6837

Vital stats: Fonterra DR20 probiotics

Study claim: Pre- and post-natal supplementation with probiotics can reduce eczema in young children by 50 per cent by two years of age.

Published: Wickens K, et al. A differential effect of two probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008 Oct;122(4):788-94.

Abstract: The role of probiotics in prevention of allergic disease is still not clearly established, although early reports suggest Lactobacillus GG halved the risk of eczema for two-year-olds.

This is a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of infants at risk of allergic disease. Pregnant women were randomised to take Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (L rhamnosus), Bifidobacterium animalis SSP lactis strain HN019, or placebo daily from 35 weeks gestation until six months if breast-feeding, and their infants were randomised to receive the same treatment from birth to two years (n = 474). The infant's cumulative prevalence of eczema and point prevalence of atopy, using skin-prick tests to common allergens, were assessed at two years.

Infants receiving L. rhamnosus had a significantly reduced risk of eczema (hazard ratio \[HR\], 0.51; 95 per cent CI, 0.30-0.85) compared with placebo, but this was not the case for B. animalis SSP lactis (HR, 0.90; 95 per cent CI, 0.58-1.41). There was no significant effect of L. rhamnosus (HR, 0.74; 95 per cent CI, 0.46-1.18) or B. animalis SSP lactis (HR, 0.82; 95 per cent CI, 0.52-1.28) on atopy. L. rhamnosus (71.5 per cent) was more likely than B. animalis SSP lactis (22.6 per cent) to be present in the faeces at three months, although detection rates were similar by 24 months.

Supplementation with L. rhamnosus, but not B. animalis SSP lactis, substantially reduced the cumulative prevalence of eczema, but not atopy, by two years. Understanding how lactobacilli act to prevent eczema requires further investigation.

Potential applications: GRAS probiotics are suitable for powders, supplements, juices, chocolate bars, ice cream and more. The DR20 probiotic is a good supplement for pre- and post-natal health products.

More info:
+1 847 928 1600

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