The human body is a complex ecosystem, playing host to countless microorganisms that contribute to our well-being in various ways. Some of these microorganisms, when administered in adequate amounts, can provide health benefits and are referred to as probiotics. As the interest in probiotics and their potential benefits increases, so does the effort to understand their interactions with our bodies and their long-term effects.
Research in this area, however, is not without its challenges. Although laboratory studies can provide some insight into how human cells interact with probiotics, they often fall short of replicating real-life scenarios due to the complexity of the human immune system. A recent study led by Christina Stene from Lund University took a closer look at the long-term effects of probiotic use in humans, focusing on two species, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Bifidobacterium infantis.
In this pioneering study, 14 healthy participants with no gastrointestinal symptoms were randomly assigned to receive either L. plantarum or B. infantis for six weeks. The researchers selected two common probiotic strains, CURE21 and Lp299, based on their known health benefits. They then assessed the participants’ inflammation response by measuring white blood cell levels, specifically leukocytes, and lymphocytes, before and after the trial.
At the end of the trial, both treatment groups showed a decrease in leukocyte levels, suggesting that probiotics indeed reduced inflammation. However, no significant changes in lymphocyte levels were observed for either group. The researchers attributed this discrepancy to factors such as the small study size, the short duration of the study, or the probiotic dosage.
Participants in both treatment groups also reported improved gut function, such as more regular bowel movements. This finding led the researchers to conclude that the probiotics not only reduced inflammation but also improved the participants’ overall quality of life.
This groundbreaking study sheds light on the potential of probiotics to enhance our health by leveraging the power of the microorganisms already residing within us. The research team suggests that probiotic strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium could potentially be used to strengthen and prepare the body for gastrointestinal surgeries or chemotherapy treatments in the future. As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of probiotics, we may find ourselves with a new secret weapon against stomach issues and other health challenges.