DuPont study proves effect of probiotics on immune function in healthy elderly subjects


New systematic review and meta-analysis shows that daily consumption of Bifidobacterium animalis sp. lactis HN019 enhances cellular immune activity in elderly adults

The DuPont Danisco range of premium probiotics is further strengthened by a new systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Nutrients February 2017, and shows that daily consumption of Bifidobacterium animalis sp. lactis HN019 enhances cellular immune activity in healthy elderly adults.

Research results

Four clinical trials were included in this analysis. Data showed that B. lactis HN019 supplementation was highly efficacious in increasing polymorphonuclear (PMN) phagocytic capacity with a standardised mean difference (SMD) of 0.74 (95% confidence interval: 0.38 to 1.11, p<0.001) and moderately efficacious in increasing natural killer (NK) cell tumouricidal activity with an SMD of 0.43 (95% confidence interval: 0.08 to 0.78, p=0.02).

In conclusion, consumption of B. lactis HN019 daily enhances cellular immune activity – NK cell and PMN function – in healthy elderly adults.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials that reported polymorphonuclear (PMN) phagocytosis activity or natural killer (NK) cell tumouricidal activity following B. lactis HN019 consumption in the elderly were conducted.

A random effects meta-analysis was performed using standardised mean difference statistics between probiotic and control groups for each outcome.

“This is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis sp. lactis HN019 in relation to immune function in elderly – a highly relevant target group as elderly people have increased susceptibility to infections and cancer that are associated with decline in cellular immune function,” said Liisa Lehtoranta, Research Manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

Immunosenescence: the ageing of the immune system

Elderly people represent the fastest growing population globally. Typically, the elderly population has weaker immune responses to vaccination and elevated risk for infections, certain autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Several of these health risks are a consequence of weakening immune function associated with the ageing process — immunosenescence.

Gut microbiota plays a significant role in immunosenescence and is influenced by physiological ageing process, lifestyle and diet. Research shows that gut microbiota of the elderly has specific features compared with the microbiota of younger adults such as lower levels of bifidobacteria and higher levels of Bacteroidetes sp.

These changes in microbiota composition may be indicative of dysbiosis and poorer health. Therefore, targeted dietary interventions that restore microbiota composition could potentially help maintain overall health and improve the quality of the life of the elderly.

“We understand people have varying nutritional needs at different stages of their life. Our probiotics have a clear individual benefit with scientific support for a specific target group. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” explained Ole Danielsen, Global Marketing Director, Dietary Supplements, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

“With this in mind, we designed DuPont HOWARU Protect Senior to meet the requirements of a senior target group.”

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HOWARU Protect Senior contains Bifidobacterium animalis sp. lactis HN019 and is part of the HOWARU protect product family, which includes products targeting kids, adults, seniors, physical active people as well as expecting mothers.