Consumption of Bifidobacterium Animalis Subsp. Lactis BB-12 Impacts Upper Respiratory Tract Infection and the Function of NK and T Cells in Healthy Adults

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 May;60(5):1161-71. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500665. Epub 2016 Mar 1.


Scope: Probiotics can modulate immunity and reduce upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) in humans; however few studies have examined both outcomes in the same trial. The goal of the current study was to investigate the effect of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12, on natural killer (NK) and T-cell function in conjunction with self-reported cold/flu outcomes in healthy adults.

Methods and results: In a randomized, partially blinded, four-period crossover study, healthy adults (n = 30) were recruited, and received four treatments for 4 weeks in a random order: (i) yogurt smoothies alone (YS); smoothies with BB-12 added (ii) before (PRE) or (iii) after (POST) yogurt fermentation, or (iv) BB-12 capsule (CAP). NK- and T-cell function was assessed at baseline and after each treatment. Incidence and severity of cold/flu infection was quantified using self-reported URTI questionnaires. Participants on YS, PRE, or CAP treatments had elevated IL-2 secretion and NK-cell cytotoxicity, concurrently with fewer days with URTI. However, the POST treatment did not change immune outcomes or the severity of URTI.

Conclusion: The timing of BB-12 addition to yogurt smoothies in relation to the fermentation process influenced the impact of BB-12 on immune function and cold/flu severity in young healthy adults.

Trial registration: NCT01399996.

Keywords: Delivery matrix; IL-2; Infection; NK cell; Probiotics; T cell.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bifidobacterium animalis*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / microbiology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / microbiology
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / microbiology
  • Yogurt
  • Young Adult

Associated data