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Probiotics Improve Natural Defense Function in Humans

The natural defense systems of humans have been developed to maintain the host’s health by fighting exogenous microbes.  Immune systems, which have functions to recognize and keep out exogeneous organisms, play a central role in the host defense systems.  Intestinal microflora are composed of approximately one hundred trillion microbes to protect our body as well as provide defense functions called colonization resistance to keep out exogenous bacteria.

Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms which confer a health benefits on the host.  A recent study conducted by Nesle Research Center in Switzerland reported multiple trials demonstrating the efficacy of probiotic strains Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 (LC1) and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 in relation to natural defense system in human.

A 3-week trial using fermented milk with LC1 in healthy young females, middle aged adults and pregnent women significantly increased blood phagocytic activity – a biomarker for natural immunity, improved mild constipation in pregnant women.  In trials of LC1 in the elderly, the frequency of infection was reduced, the blood phagocytic activity was increased, serum TNF-a (inflammation biomarker) was lowered, and serum albumin (biomarker for nutritional status) was increased.  Trial using infant formula with Bb12 strains in weaning children also showed improved intestinal microflora and increased intestinal IgA production.

These results suggest that probiotic such as LC1 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 may contribute to the strengthenning of natural defense systems of healthy humans through natural immunity reinforcement and improvement of intestinal microflora.  Probiotics may also contribute to reduced infection through immune system modulation, activation of immunity and suppression of inflammation, and nutritional status improvement, thereby play a significant role in improving the QOL of human beings.

Source: BioScience Microflora 2007 Vol 26 (1):1-10

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