A new human intervention study on the role of patented, proprietary probiotic strains in the development of celiac disease shows that said probiotics—Lactobacillus plantarum Heal 9 and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2, marketed commercially by Probi (Lund, Sweden)—suppress celiac autoimmunity and may delay onset of the disease among children genetically predisposed to it.
Celiac disease (CD) is a disorder in which an autoimmune response to the protein gluten—found in wheat, rye and barley—damages the small intestinal mucosa. CD affects approximately one percent of the world’s population and involves a genetic component as well as variable, incompletely defined contributing factors. At present, the only known means of ameliorating the condition and protecting against its damage is following a lifelong gluten-free diet.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, results of which were presented at the International Celiac Disease Symposium in New Delhi, India, on September 10, 2017, involved 78 asymptomatic children aged three to seven years with an increased risk for developing CD. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a daily dose of the probiotic or a placebo for six months, during which they maintained a gluten-containing diet.
Study results associate probiotic supplementation with suppression of celiac autoimmunity in the children. Levels of CD-related antibodies dropped significantly in the probiotic group throughout the course of the study while increasing significantly in those receiving the placebo. Further, several significant differences at the cellular level emerged between the probiotic and placebo groups, suggesting that the probiotic may offset ongoing immunological and inflammatory responses associated with CD.
“To our knowledge,” notes Daniel Agardh, MD, PhD, head of the research team at Sweden’s Lund University that carried out the study, in a press release, “this is the first time a probiotic study has been performed on this specific population and the results show immune-supporting properties of these probiotics as well as a potential preventive effect on the development of CD.”
Adds Peter Nählstedt, CEO of Probi AB, “This is an excellent example of a well working collaboration between academia and the industry. We see a growing interest in children’s probiotics and these results enable Probi to build a product platform for children.”