In their quest to understand the effect that bacterial count has on colonization in the human intestinal tract, researchers had healthy adults ingest a blend of four probiotic strains in a single formulation commercialized by DuPont Nutrition & Health.
The researchers, affiliated with the University of Milan, observed that, compared to a lower dose, participants that ingested the higher dose had higher, earlier, and longer recovery of the probiotics in their feces.
Fecal recovery is one way to assess the resilience of probiotic strains—microorganisms that confer health benefits to the human host. This assessment is done by quantifying and isolating a specific probiotic strain in feces after oral administration.
Due to the small sample size, the researchers characterized the study as a “microbiological pilot.”
The results, published this year in the journal Nutrients, corroborate other published studies that link higher doses of probiotics to higher levels of fecal recovery, according to Dr Ouwehand, a technical fellow at DuPont Nutrition & Health, in a news release.
“What is fascinating with [this] study is they show a higher dose also leads to an earlier and longer detection of the consumed probiotics; suggesting a more stable ‘colonization,’” he added.
“This begs the question if a higher probiotic dose also leads to earlier and more reliable health benefits.”
Clear trend toward multi-strain products
The researchers argued that proof of survival in the gut should not only be assessed for a particular probiotic strain, “but also for each specific commercial product that contains such probiotic microorganism.”
In this present study, they looked at a commercially available blend from DuPont containing two the company’s trademarked strains, Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14, as well as non-trademarked Lactobacillus plantarum SDZ-11 and Lactobacillus paracasei SDZ-22.
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Individual strains of the blend have been studied for health benefits, such as B. lactis BI-04 for immune support.
"Since we are experiencing a clear trend toward multi-strain and higher potency probiotic formulations in many markets around the world, it is encouraging to see study results which may assist in better understanding the benefits of these formulations from a consumer perspective,” said Valerie Delahaye, Global Leader of Dietary Supplements for DuPont Nutrition & Health.
Forty healthy adults of both genders aged between 18 to 60 participated in the study. Researchers randomly divided them into two equal groups.
Depending on group, the participants ingested either the 7 billion CFU or 70 billion CFU formulation daily for two weeks. They were monitored for a follow-up period of an additional two weeks.
For the duration of the study, participants followed their usual diet without the intake of any other probiotic products and collected 19 fecal samples in total. These samples were tested for probiotic recovery.
Researchers found that probiotic recovery in fecal sample happened earlier in the high dose group compared to the low dose.
On the last day of probiotic consumption, viable cells of all four strains in the blend were recovered from participants that consumed the 70 billion CFU dose, but recovery was not successful in five participants who consumed the 7 billion CFU dose.
“Although available industrial technologies may guarantee an excellent survival of probiotic microorganisms in the appropriately stored product, little is known about the fate of microbial cells once the probiotic product is opened and handled by the consumer,” the researchers wrote.
“For this reason, in this study, we evaluated the viability of the probiotic bacteria within the product at the end of the study.”
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.3390/nu11020285
“Effect of Cell Concentration on the Persistence in the Human Intestine of Four Probiotic Strains Administered through a Multispecies Formulation”
Authors: Valentina Taverniti, et al.