Probiotic Strains May Strengthen Immune System

September 21, 2011

The new study on 211 healthy adults was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Daily consumption of at least one billion colony forming units (CFU) of either patented probiotic strains BB-12 (Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis) or L. casei 431 (Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei) from Chr. Hansen (Hoersholm, Denmark) may strengthen the body’s immune system defense against common infections such as flu and colds, according to a new study on 211 healthy adults published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Over six weeks, subjects consumed daily a placebo or a minimum of 109 CFU of BB-12 in a capsule or L. casei 431 in a dairy drink. After two weeks, a seasonal influenza vaccination was administered. Plasma and saliva samples were collected at baseline and after six weeks for analysis of antibodies, cytokines, and innate immune parameters.

Following supplementation, subjects in both probiotic strain groups experienced a substantial increase in flu antibodies compared to the placebo groups (66% in the BB-12 group versus 4% in the placebo group, and 46% in the L. casei 431 group versus 2% in the placebo group). Changes from baseline in vaccine-specific plasma IgG, IgG1, and IgG3 were significantly greater in both probiotic groups.

“The outcomes of this study, as well as data from previous studies on BB-12 and L. casei 431, show that supplementation with these probiotic strains result in a strengthening of various parts of the immune system. This will very likely translate into a clinical benefit, such as reduced rates of infection,” said Birgit Michelsen, Chr. Hansen’s director of scientific affairs, health and nutrition.