Probiotic Cheese Linked to Healthier Immunity

A recently published clinical study has shown for the first time that commercially produced cheese has the potential to provide immune health benefits when fortified with probiotics.

Refrigerated dairy products have long been considered an ideal carrier for probiotics because they provide a suitable matrix for live microbes. Now a recently published clinical study1 has shown for the first time that commercially produced cheese has the potential to provide immune health benefits when fortified with probiotics.

The Study

The study comprised of 31 healthy elderly subjects involved in three consecutive phases of monitored cheese consumption. In the first phase, the subjects ate 15g of a control cheese at breakfast for two weeks. In phase two, the intervention, they consumed 15g of a similar cheese containing Danisco probiotics (109 CFU/dose) for the next four weeks. In phase three, the subjects switched back to consuming the control cheese for the last four weeks.

The cheese enhanced with HOWARU® Rhamnosus (Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001) and HOWARU® Dophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM), which was consumed during phase two, was shown to significantly improve immunity defense indicators in the subjects’ blood when compared with tests conducted during phases one and three. The intervention resulted in enhanced phagocytic and Natural Killer cell activity. This is particularly interesting as enhanced phagocytic activity and Natural Killer cells are believed to be linked to immunity.

Promoting Immune Health

The findings are especially promising for the elderly, as age-related compromises in the immune system have been correlated to increased frequency and severity of infectious disease and chronic inflammatory disorders. From this study, we now have evidence that Danisco probiotics have the potential to boost their bodies’ natural defenses.

‘This study is a great example of collaboration between industry and academia. Together we were able to produce probiotic cheese of excellent quality commercially, and just one slice of probotic cheese can modulate the immune system of healthy elderly - the first time something like this has been documented,’ explains Dr Arthur Ouwehand, Group Manager Digestive Health, Danisco.

Danisco’s probiotic strains are available in the form of freeze-dried powder, suitable for direct inclusion into a wide range of cheese products. Our innovation specialists are available to help cheese processors create products that can improve their customers’ immune health.

For more information, or to contact a Danisco representative for assistance with a specific formulation, go to

1Research study published by FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology (2010) “Probiotics and immunosenescence: cheese as a carrier” F. Ibrahim, S. Ruvio, L. Granland, S. Salminen, M. Vitanen & A. C. Ouwehand.

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