B. Subtilis Probiotic May Support Immune Response in Seniors


A recent study suggests Lesaffre Human Care’s patented Bacillus subtilis CU1 strain may help support immune health in older adults by increasing SIgA levels.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Eraxion

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Eraxion

Researchers in France have found that probiotic strain Bacillus subtilis CU1, supplied by Lesaffre Human Care (Marcq-en-Baroeul, France), may support a healthy immune response in older adults.

A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 44 subjects aged 60–74 who were randomized to consume either the B. subtilis probiotic or a placebo daily for 10 days intermittently, alternating with 18-day break periods, for a four-month period.

Researchers found that consumption of the spore-forming probiotic significantly increased secretory IgA levels, “a key element in the maintenance of gut microbiota homeostasis and in the protection of gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts against pathogens.” A post-hoc analysis also found a decreased frequency of respiratory infections in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group.

“These results provide evidence that consumption of B. subtilis CU1 may be a safe and effective prevention strategy to stimulate immune responses and provide long-term support to people at risk of SIgA deficiency, such as the elderly, people suffering from chronic stress/sleep deprivation, professional athletes, etc.,” says Elodie Ruffin, probiotics marketing manager, Lesaffre Human Care.


Study details

The study included 100 subjects aged 60–74 who were randomized to consume either a placebo or 2.109B. subtilis CU1 spores daily for a period of 10 days, followed by an 18-day break. The scheme was repeated four times over the course of the study, which lasted four months. The trial was performed in winter to investigate specifically the “effect of the probiotic strain on winter respiratory and gastrointestinal infectious episodes in elderly people,” says Lesaffre Human Care.

Throughout the study, all subjects recorded incidence of gastrointestinal and upper/lower respiratory tract infections daily, while blood, saliva, and stool samples were collected from a predefined subset of the first 44 subjects enrolled in the study.

While B. subtilis supplementation did not significantly decrease the mean number of days with reported common infectious disease symptoms over the study period, fetal and salivary secretory IgA concentrations were significantly increased in the probiotic group of the 44-person subset compared to placebo.

“Our study provides evidence that B. subtilis CU1 supplementation during the winter period may be a safe, effective way to stimulate immune responses in elderly subjects,” concluded researchers.


Read more:

Are Probiotics Moving Beyond Gut Health?

Microbiome and Emerging Research to Unlock Probiotic Mysteries?

Immune-Health Supplements: Supporting Innate and Adaptive Immunity


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Lefevre M et al., “Probiotic strain Bacillus subtilis CU1 stimulates immune system of elderly during common infectious disease period: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study,” Immunity & Ageing, vol. 12 (December 2015): 24

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