Probiotic Strain Protects Gut Health against Aspirin Side Effects, in New Unpublished Study


A representative from probiotics supplier Chr. Hansen told Nutritional Outlook that while probiotics are known for their gut-health benefits, this is the first time the company has investigated probiotics’ effects on NSAID-induced gastrointestinal damage.

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Probiotics may help to reduce gastrointestinal damage caused by common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) pain relievers like aspirin, according to a new clinical study from Chr. Hansen A/S (Hørsholm, Denmark). In the unpublished, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial, a “carefully selected probiotic strain” was shown to reduce several negative gut-health side effects related to regular consumption of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin.

Probiotics are widely known for their digestive-health benefits. For example, said Johan van Hylckama Vlieg, vice president of microbiome and human health innovation, Chr. Hansen, “L. rhamnosus LGG has been shown to reduce diarrhea in the context during the use of antibiotics.” With this in mind, researchers sought to establish a connection between an unnamed probiotic and reduced gastrointestinal side effects associated with aspirin use. According to van Hylckama Vlieg, this is the first time the global bioscience company has investigated probiotics’ effects on NSAID-induced gastrointestinal damage.

In the clinical study, researchers used capsule endoscopy to reveal gastrointestinal damage subjects incurred after ingesting aspirin. Capsule endoscopy is a technology that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of a subjects’ digestive tract. While the camera travels through the digestive tract, it takes pictures that are then transmitted to a recorder. According to the company, this new study marks one of the first times the technology has been used in a probiotic intervention trial.

Both the primary and secondary study endpoints were reached, the company said; specifically, the probiotic had a “robust protective effect against gastrointestinal side effects caused by acetylsalicylic acid [aspirin].” Van Hylckama Vlieg commented on the study results in a press statement, noting that “participants taking the probiotic experienced a significant defense against gastrointestinal damage caused by a widely used household painkiller compared to those who took the placebo.” He added that the results indicate “a clear protective effect from the strain-both in terms of the reduction of intestinal damage and the number of ulcers caused.”

According to van Hylckama Vlieg, Chr. Hansen is “finalizing the scientific analyses of the study and intend to publish as we think these data will be of value to the scientific community.”

As Chr. Hansen noted in a press statement, NSAID pain killers are among the most widely used pharmaceuticals in the world, with more than 50 million adults taking those drugs on a regular basis.1 At the same time, frequent use of these drugs has been associated with negative side effects for gut health, including stomach pain and ulcers, among others.

The company stated that the new study represents a “key milestone” in the organization’s innovation program. Per the press statement, one of the key goals of Chr. Hansen’s probiotic program is to “prove the potential of probiotic strains to protect against intestinal damage and develop these into proprietary products.”

“With this clinical data, we are breaking ground into a new field,” continued van Hylckama Vlieg. “As part of our Nature’s No. 1 strategy, we work to unleash the potential of probiotics as a safe and effective solution into new health areas. To do this, we focus on careful strain selection, high-quality clinical trial design, and professional execution.”

He added: “We are now continuing to invest in this concept to further investigate the potential of the strain. Our goal is to make it available to the many millions who need to take [aspirin] regularly to support their long-term health.”



Also read: 

Chr. Hansen Expands Probiotics Library with Novel, Next-Gen Strains

Chr. Hansen, Caelus Health Collaborate on Probiotic for Metabolic Disease

Gut Check: Digestive-Health Market Update


1. Campbell CL et al., “Aspirin dose for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review,” JAMA, vol. 297, no. 18 (May 2007): 2018-2024.

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