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: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01399996.
Keywords: Delivery matrix; IL-2; Infection; NK cell; Probiotics; T cell.
© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.