The aim of the studies was to determine the effects of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate supplementation on faecal Lactobacillus spp., with and without a probiotic supplement, in healthy adults. Study 1 comprised of a randomised, double-blind, crossover design; participants (n=15) received 2 capsules/d of 250 mg elemental calcium as calcium carbonate (Ca1) and calcium phosphate (Ca2) each for 2-week periods, with 2-week baseline and washout periods. Study 2 was a randomised, double-blind, crossover design; participants (n=17) received 2 capsules/d of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011 (probiotic) alone, the probiotic with 2 capsules/d of Ca1, and probiotic with 2 capsules/d of Ca2 each for 2-week periods with 2-week baseline and washout periods. In both studies, stools were collected during the baseline, intervention and washout periods for Lactobacillus spp. quantification and qPCR analyses. Participants completed daily questionnaires of stool frequency and compliance. In Study 1, neither calcium supplement influenced viable counts of resident Lactobacillus spp., genome equivalents of lactic acid bacteria or stool frequency. In Study 2, faecal Lactobacillus spp. counts were significantly enhanced from baseline when the probiotic was administered with Ca2 (4.83±0.30, 5.79±0.31) (P=0.02), but not with Ca1 (4.98±0.31) or with the probiotic alone (5.36±0.31, 5.55±0.29) (not significant). Detection of L. helveticus R0052 and L. rhamnosus R0011 was significantly increased with all treatments, but did not differ among treatments. There were no changes in weekly stool frequency. Calcium phosphate co-administration may increase gastrointestinal survival of orally-administered Lactobacillus spp.
Keywords: Lactobacillus; calcium carbonate; calcium phosphate; probiotic; stool frequency.