Studies devoted to evaluating the outcome of different doses of probiotics are very limited, especially for multistrain formulations. In this context, we performed an intervention study that aimed to compare the effect of the administration of two doses (7 billion and 70 billion bacterial cells) of a multistrain probiotic formulation on the persistence of the four probiotic strains that were present in the product in the fecal samples collected from healthy subjects. The overall persistence of the probiotic strains was significantly higher for the 70 billion formulation than for the 7 billion formulation. Furthermore, probiotic strains were detected earlier and for longer for the 70 billion formulation compared to those for the 7 billion formulation. All probiotic strains were recovered alive from the 70 billion preparation, whereas recovery was not possible in a few fecal samples upon administration of the 7 billion preparation. In addition, the overall number of viable probiotic cells recovered on day 14 (i.e., the last day of consumption) was significantly higher for the 70 billion formulation than that for the 7 billion formulation. Finally, we found that the viability of the probiotic cells was stable over the course of the trial independent of volunteers' handling, demonstrating good manufacturing of the product. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that strains belonging to different taxa may coexist in the human gastrointestinal tract upon ingestion of a multispecies probiotic formulation. Moreover, this study suggests that higher doses of bacterial cells in probiotic formulations may permit a higher, earlier, and longer recovery of the probiotics in the feces of healthy adults.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Lactobacillus; dosage; healthy adults; intervention study; qPCR; strain-specific primers; viable recovery.