Prebiotic boosts healthy elderly immune systems: Study


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Researcher: "...we have demonstrated excellent results with the ability to enhance the immune system through altering the gut microbiota,”
Researcher: "...we have demonstrated excellent results with the ability to enhance the immune system through altering the gut microbiota,”

Related tags: Gut microbiota, Gut flora, Bacteria, Immune system

A proprietary prebiotic blend can deliver immune system benefits to the healthy elderly better than placebo, an industry-backed study in the UK has found.

Researchers from the University of Reading found healthy elderly people were more likely to demonstrate robust immune and gut health after biomarker analysis when taking Jersey firm Clasado’s ‘Bimuno’ trans-galactooligosaccharide (B-GOS) prebiotic product.

40 healthy people aged 65 to 80 showed significant increase in gut bifidobacteria​ after B-GOS consumption along with higher anti-inflammatory cytokine activity (IL-10, IL-8) and lower levels of the inflammatory cytokine (IL-1).

“In our research investigating the advanced prebiotic Bimuno, we have demonstrated excellent results with the ability to enhance the immune system through altering the gut microbiota,”​ said professor Glenn Gibson, professor of Food Microbiology and head of Food Microbial Sciences at the University of Reading in the UK. 

The double blind study that used maltodextrin as placebo had intervention periods of 10 weeks with daily doses of 5·5 g/day with a 4-week washout period.

The researchers suggested utislisation of Bimuno​ could be an effective way to reduce illness and hospitalisations.


Levels of Bifidobacterium​ and other gut bacteria decline as people get older.

“The exact mechanisms by which bifidobacteria exert their positive effects on the host are not fully understood. However, they are known to improve barrier function and thus reduce inflammatory compounds …”​ the researchers acknowledged.

Clasado has submitted dossiers to win gut-based claims for Bimuno but so far not been successful under the European Union’s strict nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

A Clasado spokesperson said the current trial could form part of a dossier in the future but there were no immediate plans to submit anything.

Clasado CEO Graham Waters said: “This trial is part of a wider program of clinical research in which we are currently engaged, investigating the central role of the gut in a range of health concerns. By investigating the axes between the gut, the brain, and the immune system, Clasado hopes to contribute to future options for patients with under-served medical needs.”


British Journal of Nutrition​ 

Published online: 28 July 2015 (​)

Influence of galacto-oligosaccharide mixture (B-GOS) on gut microbiota, immune parameters and metabonomics in elderly persons’

Authors: Jelena Vulevic, Aleksandra Juric, Gemma E. Walton, Sandrine P. Claus, George Tzortzis, Ruth E. Toward, Glenn R. Gibson

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