Probiotics help increase the proportion of healthy days in stressed participants : results of a large randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study
“Daily intake of Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 provides benefits related to cold and flu outcomes during acute psychological stress”, this is the main conclusion of a large probiotic randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at the University of Florida with 581 participants and published ahead of print by the British Journal of Nutrition, demonstrating a reduction by 45% of the likelihood that a participant would report a cold/flu during a day while on the probiotic compared to those on the placebo. This translates into an average reduction of cold/flu episodes duration by approximately a half day over a 6-week period: Placebo group : 2.4 days/ B.bifidum Rosell-71 group : 1.8 days (1).
The clinical study evaluated the individual effects of three probiotic strains, which are found in combination in the ProbioKid® formulation and which have been previously shown to reduce the occurrence of common winter infections in school-aged children by 25% and the number of school day absenteeism by 40%2: Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71 (R0071), Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-33 (R0033), Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52 (R0052). Commenting on the study, Professor Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, Principal Investigator of the clinical study, said: “The aim of this unique study was to evaluate the effects of specific probiotic strains on the percentage of healthy days in academically stressed students, a well-known model of acute psychological stress which is associated with increased incidence of cold/flu. This acute stress model was already evaluated with a previous prebiotic study.” She added: “We wanted to keep our participants healthy. With Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071, participants had a higher proportion of healthy days around the period time when they were taking academic exams.
With Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 we saw a reduction in the percentage of participants who became ill and fewer episodes of cold/flu compared with the placebo. There was also a trend toward fewer episodes of cold/flu with Bifidobacterium infantis R0033.
Dr Stéphanie-Anne Girard, Clinical Program Manager at Lallemand Health Solutions added: “With the use of powerful statistical predictive models, we could highlight interesting effects of other covariates on the probability of reporting a day of cold/flu in these stressed participants, such as the level of stress and the gender: women reported more cold days, more severe cold symptoms and higher levels of stress during the 6-week intervention. The probiotic effect was all the more important in these susceptible groups”.
She added: “We are very pleased to have participated in this high standard clinical study with the University of Florida. Scientifically, it is very interesting for us to look at the individual strain effects and such a design is part of our global integrated research program aimed at investigating the interactions of our individual strains with the immune system. These new study results should be considered not only with previous clinical results obtained in children with the complete ProbioKid® formula but also corroborated with additional mechanistic host-microbe interaction studies. When taken individually, the three strains are able to specifically modulate the immune response while, when taken together, the strain combination shows even more potent significant benefits, illustrating potential synergies between the different strains. These in vitro results will be presented at Probiota 2015 in Amsterdam next week.”
1-Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, Cassie C. Rowe, Amanda L. Ford, Mary C. Christman, Carmelo Nieves Jr, Lauren Khouri, Gretchen J. Specht, Stephanie-Anne Girard, Samuel J. Spaiser and Wendy J. Dahl,. Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 results in a greater proportion of healthy days and a lower percentage of academically stressed students reporting a day of cold/flu: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. British Journal of Nutrition 2015 doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003997.
2-Mario Cazzola, Nhân Pham-Thi, Jean-Charles Kerihuel, Henri Durand, and Serge Bohbot “Efficacy of a synbiotic supplementation in the prevention of common winter diseases in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study” Ther Adv Respir Dis, October 2010; vol. 4, 5: pp. 271-278