Effects of Bifidobacterium breve A1 on the cognitive function of older adults with memory complaints: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Benef Microbes. 2019 May 28;10(5):511-520. doi: 10.3920/BM2018.0170. Epub 2019 May 15.


In our previous study, we reported the therapeutic potential of Bifidobacterium breve A1 in preventing cognitive impairment in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and participants with mild cognitive impairment; we suggested that probiotic supplementation is an effective therapeutic strategy for managing cognitive function. Accordingly, we conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess whether 12-week B. breve A1 supplementation could affect the cognitive function of elderly subjects with memory complaints. We assessed cognitive function using the Japanese version of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at baseline and after 12 weeks of probiotic supplementation. A total of 121 participants were randomised and received B. breve A1 capsules or placebo daily for 12 weeks; of these, 117 participants completed the study. At 12 weeks, neuropsychological test scores significantly increased in both groups; no significant intergroup difference was observed in terms of changes in scores from the baseline scores. However, a stratified analysis revealed a significant difference between B. breve A1 and placebo groups in terms of the subscale 'immediate memory' of RBANS and MMSE total score in the subjects with low RBANS total score at baseline. No significant differences in terms of blood parameters between the groups or adverse effects caused by B. breve A1 intervention were observed. The results of the present study suggest the safety of B. breve A1 supplementation and its potential in maintaining cognitive function in elderly subjects with memory complaints. However, future large-scale studies on individuals with impaired cognitive function are required to validate the present findings.

Keywords: cognitive function; mild cognitive impairment; probiotic supplementation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bifidobacterium breve / growth & development*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Probiotics / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Placebos