LC40 probiotic significantly reduces gastrointestinal infections in C-section infants

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Photo courtesy of Biosearch Life, a Kerry company
© Photo courtesy of Biosearch Life, a Kerry company

Related tags Probiotic Gut health Infant

A probiotic isolated from human breast milk may reduce gastrointestinal infections in infants born by Cesarean section by up to 73%, according to recent review published in the Frontiers in Pediatrics journal.

The Limosilactobacillus fermentum​ CECT 5716 strain, marketed as LC40, is part of the Hereditum range of probiotics developed by Spanish biotech company Biosearch Life, a Kerry company.

“Clinical studies have already shown that the inclusion of LC40 in formula can significantly reduce the risk of infection,” ​said Ruth Blanco, lead author on the study and head of clinical research at Biosearch Life.

“The reason this new analysis is so exciting is that it indicates that the effect it offers is even greater in infants delivered by C-section – demonstrating huge potential for formulas that help reduce infection in a group that can be at higher risk.” 

C-sections and gut colonization

Birth by Cesarean section potentially compromises immune system development by disrupting the microbiota colonization process that occurs naturally through mother-to-infant transfer during vaginal delivery.

“Different mechanisms influenced by gut colonization in early life are involved in protection against gastrointestinal infections, e.g., competition with pathogenic bacteria, production of bacteriocins, strengthening of the epithelial barrier and therefore reduction of intestinal permeability, or modulation of the host's local immune response by inducing the production of antimicrobial proteins,”​ the researchers wrote.

As such, microbiota disbiosyis at birth has been related to a higher risk of infections and an increased frequency of related hospital visits. The researchers note that breastfeeding, when possible, can reduce this risk but present formula supplemented with LC40 as an alternative strategy to improve immune response. 

Study details

The review analyzes the effect of LC40 on the incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in a subgroup of 173 healthy C-section infants pooled from three double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trials conducted in Spain.  A meta-analysis of the results determined a reduction of 73% in gastrointestinal infections in the probiotic group compared to control but no statistically significant effect on respiratory infections.

“The fact that L. fermentum CECT 5716 can enhance the immune response as it interferes with the mechanisms involved in enteropathogen internalization might be responsible for the improved protective effect observed against gastrointestinal infections,”​ the researchers wrote. They suggest that the commensal microorganisms were able to induce secretion of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that serves as a first line of defense against pathogens.

The study calls for further research to clarify the role of probiotics in balancing the effects of Cesarean sections on immune system maturation, including more complete analysis of microbiota and tracking of the severity and duration of respiratory infection.

A Kerry company

Ireland-based taste and nutrition company Kerry Group acquired Biosearch Life in 2021​ as part of a strategy to expand its portfolio of science-backed branded ingredients. In addition to the Hereditum probiotic strains isolated from breast milk, the Spanish biotech company has also developed a line of ultra-purified fish oils for food enrichment and a range of functional botanical extracts.

Source: Frontier in Pediatrics
doi: 10.3389/fped.2022.906924
“Beneficial Effects of Limosilactobacillus fermentum CECT 5716 Administration to Infants Delivered by Cesarean Section”
Authors: Ruth Blanco-Rojo et al.

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