The effect of probiotic Lactobacillus casei Shirota on knee osteoarthritis: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Benef Microbes. 2017 Oct 13;8(5):697-703. doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0207. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Knee osteoarthritis (OA) treatment is challenging due to inefficacy and adverse effects of current medications. Probiotic treatment has been shown to promote bone metabolism, reduce pain and inflammatory responses of age-related musculoskeletal disorders, including OA. We aimed to investigate the effect of probiotic Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on patients with knee OA. 537 patients with knee OA were enrolled in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, who were randomised to receive skimmed milk containing either LcS or placebo daily for 6 months. Primary outcome was defined as changes in WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) and VAS (visual analog scale) scores. Secondary outcome was defined as changes in serum levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). After 6 months of treatment, both WOMAC and VAS scores were significantly improved in the LcS groups of patients compared to the placebo group. Serum levels of hs-CRP were also significantly lower in patients receiving LcS than placebo. Strong linear correlations were observed between serum hs-CRP levels and WOMAC and VAS scores. LcS consumption could serve as a novel therapeutic option in the clinical management of knee OA, improving treatment outcome likely through reducing serum hs-CRP levels.

Keywords: Lactobacillus casei Shirota; inflammation; osteoarthritis; pain; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus casei / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Placebos
  • C-Reactive Protein