Effects of intake of pickles containing Lactobacillus brevis on immune activity and bowel symptoms in female students

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(5):402-11. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.59.402.


Forty-four female students with a tendency for constipation (mean age, 20.2±3.3 y) were asked to consume 30 g test pickles daily for 2 wk and were divided into 3 groups: viable-cell intake subjects (n=14, 3.0×10⁵ colony-forming units of viable LAB (lactic acid bacteria) cells per sample), dead-cells intake subjects (n=15, viable cells were heat sterilized), and placebo-intake subjects (n=15, LAB removed from the pickles). γ-Aminobutyric acid content of 75.1±3.2 mg per sample was noted, with no marked difference between samples containing viable and dead cells. Natural killer (NK)-cell activity (% specific lysis) in serum from dead-cell intake subjects was 37.5±17.0% before the start of the test-food intake and 47.7±20.1% after intake, indicating statistically significant effects (p<0.01). However, viable-cell intake and placebo intake subjects showed no statistically significant difference. The number of days with bowel movements significantly increased from 3.8±1.5 to 4.9±1.8 d in the dead-cell intake group, whereas a slight change from 4.6±1.5 to 5.1±1.7 d was observed in the viable-cell intake group. Additionally, the feeling of incomplete evacuation fell and a refreshed feeling increased among the subjects with constipation. Thus, marked enhancement of NK-cell activity and improved bowel symptoms were observed in subjects consuming pickles containing dead LAB cells.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Constipation / diet therapy*
  • Constipation / immunology
  • Constipation / microbiology
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Diet / ethnology
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Food, Preserved / microbiology*
  • Functional Food / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / physiopathology*
  • Japan
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lactobacillus brevis / growth & development*
  • Lactobacillus brevis / immunology
  • Lactobacillus brevis / isolation & purification
  • Lactobacillus brevis / metabolism
  • Microbial Viability
  • Odorants
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sterilization
  • Vegetables / microbiology*
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid