Lactobacillus helveticus-fermented milk improves learning and memory in mice

Nutr Neurosci. 2015 Jul;18(5):232-40. doi: 10.1179/1476830514Y.0000000122. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Objectives: To investigate the effects of Calpis sour milk whey, a Lactobacillus helveticus-fermented milk product, on learning and memory.

Methods: We evaluated improvement in scopolamine-induced memory impairment using the spontaneous alternation behaviour test, a measure of short-term memory. We also evaluated learning and working memory in mice using the novel object recognition test, which does not involve primary reinforcement (food or electric shocks). A total of 195 male ddY mice were used in the spontaneous alternation behaviour test and 60 in the novel object recognition test.

Results: Forced orally administered Calpis sour milk whey powder (200 and 2000 mg/kg) significantly improved scopolamine-induced cognitive impairments (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively) and object recognition memory (2000 mg/kg; P < 0.05).

Discussion: These results suggest that Calpis sour milk whey may be useful for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, and enhancing learning and memory in healthy human subjects; however, human clinical studies are necessary.

Keywords: Fermented milk; Lactobacillus helveticus; Learning; Memory; Scopolamine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cultured Milk Products / chemistry
  • Cultured Milk Products / microbiology*
  • Lactobacillus helveticus*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Scopolamine / adverse effects


  • Scopolamine