Background: Advancing age is linked to a decrease in beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium spp. and reduced aspects of innate immune function.
Objectives: We investigated whether daily consumption of a probiotic [Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (BC30); GanedenBC(30)] could improve immune function and gut function in men and women aged 65-80 y, using a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design.
Method: Thirty-six volunteers were recruited and randomly assigned to receive either a placebo (microcrystalline cellulose) or the probiotic BC30 (1 × 10(9) colony-forming units/capsule). Volunteers consumed 1 treatment capsule per day for 28 d, followed by a 21-d washout period before switching to the other treatment. Blood and fecal samples were collected at the beginning and end of each treatment period. Fecal samples were used to enumerate bacterial groups and concentrations of calprotectin. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were extracted from whole blood to assess natural killer cell activity and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated cytokine production. C-reactive protein concentrations were measured in plasma.
Results: Consumption of BC30 significantly increased populations of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii by 0.1 log10 cells/mL more than during consumption of the placebo (P = 0.03), whereas populations of Bacillus spp. increased significantly by 0.5 log10 cells/mL from baseline in volunteers who consumed BC30 (P = 0.007). LPS-stimulated PBMCs showed a 0.2 ng/mL increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 28 d after consumption of BC30 (P < 0.05), whereas the placebo did not affect IL-10, and no overall difference was found in the effect of the treatments.
Conclusions: Daily consumption of BC30 by adults aged 65-80 y can increase beneficial groups of bacteria in the human gut and potentially increase production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. This study shows the potential benefits of a probiotic to improve dysbiosis via modulation of the microbiota in older persons.
Keywords: BC30; Bacillus coagulans; Faecalibacterium prausnitzii; interleukin-10; probiotic.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.