Probiotic Consumption Enhances Cellular Immune Activity in Healthy Seniors?


New meta-analysis study results suggest DuPont's B. lactis HN019 probiotic may enhance natural-killer cell and polymorphonuclear function in healthy older adults.

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New meta-analysis study results out from DuPont Nutrition & Health (Copenhagen) suggest one of DuPont's Danisco probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019, may enhance cellular immune activity in health older adults.

The analysis included four clinical trials, each of which reported on polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell phagocytic capacity or natural killer (NK) cell tumoricidal activity-two key immune functions that help fight infections-in elderly adults following consumption of B. lactis HN019. Researchers created the random effects meta-analysis through use of standardized mean-difference (SMD) statistics between the probiotic and control groups for each outcome.

The analysis revealed that B. lactis HN019 supplementation was “highly efficacious” in increasing PMN phagocytic capacity, with an SMD of 0.74. The same strain was also found to be “moderately efficacious” in increasing NK cell tumoricidal activity, with an SMD of 0.43. Taken together, the findings suggest that daily supplementation with B. lactis HN019 enhances cellular immune activity in healthy seniors, DuPont explains.

“This is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 in relation to immune function in the elderly-a highly relevant target group since elderly people have increased susceptibility to infections and cancer that are associated with decline in cellular immune function,” said Liisa Lehtoranta, research manager at DuPont Nutrition & Health, in the study announcement.

Researchers added that while the meta-analysis suggests the probiotic strain may enhance PMN phagocytic capacity and NK cell tumoricidal activity in healthy elderly adults, further studies are necessary to confirm a correlation between these probiotic-associated improvements to cellular immune activity and its impact on incidences of infection and/or disease.


  1. Miller LE et al., “The effect of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 on cellular immune function in healthy elderly subjects: systematic review and meta-analysis,” Nutrients. Published online February 24, 2017.
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