Supplementing with oral probiotics: Observed effects on a stressed immune system

Argentinean researchers determined that probiotic supplementation could positively influence the gut and systemic immunity during stress and infection. According to their study, mice that received probiotics showed improvements to their intestinal villi, which enhanced their systemic immune response and provided protection against the Salmonella pathogen.

The study was led by the Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET) and was published in the Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism.

  • Mice were subjected to a stress protocol where they were deprived of food and restricted from moving. The trial period lasted 11 days.
  • During this time, researchers administered probiotic supplementation through oral means, either as a bacteria suspension and as a fermented milk.
  • They analyzed the effects of probiotic supplementation on stress-induced changes. Biochemical parameters of interest included glucose, triglycerides, and serum cholesterol levels, as well as body weight. In the gut, they looked at the number of goblet cells, the length of the microvilli, and bacterial movement from the intestinal microbiota to deep tissues.
  • They also also measured the activity levels of peritoneal and spleen macrophages, the immune response to ovalbumin immunization, and the resistance against Salmonella infection in stressed mice that received probiotic supplements.
  • Their findings showed that probiotic supplementation in chronically-stressed mice improved the microscopic structure in their guts and boosted phagocytic activity of peritoneal and spleen macrophages. Supplementation also improved the humoral reactions to the OVA antigen and shielded against Salmonella pathogens.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers believed that probiotic supplements could serve as an alternative to reduce injuries experienced during stressful situations.

The full text of the study can be found here.

Journal Reference:

Manuel PM, Elena B, Carolina MG, Gabriela P. ORAL PROBIOTICS SUPPLEMENTATION CAN STIMULATE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IN A STRESS PROCESS. Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism. 7 June 2017;8:29–40. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnim.2017.06.001.

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