Research explains probiotics benefits on children’s immune health

The research showed 30-day probiotics supplementation resulted in a pronounced anti-inflammatory response compared to pre-supplementation levels of cytokines

A study has shown specific probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi-07, can have a significant impact on a simulated viral immune response in blood cells collected from young children taking probiotics.

Typically, viral infections result in an inflammatory response that causes symptoms of the common cold. The research showed 30-day probiotics supplementation resulted in a pronounced anti-inflammatory response compared to pre-supplementation levels of cytokines, which the researchers say could explain the reduced incidence of respiratory infection symptoms observed in a prior clinical trial in children with the same probiotics.

The study, a collaborative effort between IFF and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provided probiotics supplementation to 21 children (with two of the children dropping out of the study) over a 30- day time period. The findings will be published in Beneficial Microbes Journal.

The pilot open label clinical trial had healthy children aged between 13 to 36 months consume Howaru Protect Kids (10B CFU/day of L. acidophilus NCFM and B. lactis Bi-07) for 30 days.

Investigators collected blood samples from the children at the beginning and at the end of the study. From these samples, the investigators were able to isolate immune cells called peripheral blood monocytic cells (PBMCs). These immune cells were stimulated with a molecule that mimics a respiratory virus and then the cells’ immune response (specifically cytokines and chemokines) to this stimulus was measured. The immune response was compared between baseline prior probiotic intervention and after 30-days intervention. The probiotics product was safe and well-tolerated.

“We are thrilled to further confirm the connection between probiotic supplementation and healthy immune response in children. This research propels us to further examine how we can continue to use probiotic bacteria to stimulate innate immune response in children and adults alike,” said Dr Liisa Lehtoranta, R&D Manager, IFF.

“We have seen parents be very enthusiastic about giving a probiotic supplement to their children. In this study, children who took a daily probiotic supplement showed an increase in immune functions that are believed to be involved with fighting cold viruses,” said Dr Gregory DeMuri, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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