L. plantarum probiotic may offer memory benefits for older people: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images
© Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images

Related tags Lactiplantibacillus plantarum Probiotics microbiome gut-brain axis Memory neurodegeneration Inflammation

Daily consumption of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum OLL2712 may improve different memory scores in older people with declining memory, says a new study from Japan.

Scientists from the University of Tokyo and Meiji Co., Ltd. report that 12 weeks of supplementation with OLL2712 also decreased the abundance of bacterial genera in the gut linked to inflammation.

“This is the first RCT to demonstrate the efficacy of OLL2712 in improving memory function in older adults,”​ they wrote in Nutrients​.

“As there is currently no effective pharmacotherapy established to prevent the onset and progression of cognitive decline in the pre-dementia stage, the results suggest that continuous intake of OLL2712 may be an effective approach to protect memory function in older adults.”

Microbiota-gut-brain axis

The study adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the role of probiotics to beneficially impact the microbiota-gut-brain axis, that bidirectional interaction between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system.

Recent studies have linked inflammation to neurodegeneration, which opens the door to potential interventions with anti-inflammatory activity to improve brain health as we age.

The new study focused on Lactiplantibacillus plantarum​ OLL2712, described by the researchers as “the optimal anti-inflammatory lactic acid bacteria strain with high IL-10-inducing activity in immune cells”.

Seventy-eight people over the age of 65 with memory decline were recruited to take part in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either the probiotic () or placebo for 12 weeks. A computer-assisted cognitive test called Cognitrax was used to assess memory function.

Key results

The Japan-based scientists reported that OLL2712 supplementation was associated with “significant improvements in composite memory and visual memory scores”​.

Fecal analysis revealed changes in the microbiota of the OLL2712 group, with reductions in the abundance ratio of Lachnoclostridium, Monoglobus​, and Oscillibacter​ genera.  

“Based on these findings, the reduction in these genera is presumably due to the suppression of chronic inflammation via the induction of IL-10 production in the intestinal immune system by OLL2712,” ​wrote the researchers. “It is hypothesized that the administration of OLL2712 suppresses intestinal inflammation and neuroinflammation through the brain–gut axis, resulting in improved memory function.

“The finding of a significant difference in genera involved in inflammation after the intervention compared to the placebo in a randomized trial seems to be a meaningful result,” ​they added. “However, further studies to confirm their reproducibility are needed by standardization with three-point sampling before and after the intervention to improve the reliability of these genera as bacterial biomarkers of inflammation improvement.”

Source: Nutrients
2022, 14​(20), 4300; doi: 10.3390/nu14204300
“Effects of ​Lactiplantibacillus plantarum OLL2712 on Memory Function in Older Adults with Declining Memory: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial”
Authors: K. Sakurai et al.


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