Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the research in mice looked at the cultured drink as a possible prevention or treatment of the allergies and examined the underlying mechanisms of this. It built on previous research suggesting the composition of gut microbiota differed between allergic and non-allergic children.
The researchers said respiratory allergic disorders had increased dramatically over the past few decades. The theories behind this ranged from nutrition changes, antibiotic overuse, hygiene and increased caesarean section births.
“All these points affect children during the first years of life, making them have less contact with a wide variety of microorganisms and inducing a complex process characterised by an excessive activation of T helper (Th2) cells against environmental antigens,” the researchers wrote.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says this breaks down to about 5.4 million people in the UK alone - or one in 12 adults and one in 11 children.
The results suggested that the probiotic drink shifted the T helper 2 response towards a T helper 1 response, which meant antibody immunoglobulin G (IgG) was produced instead of immunoglobulin E (IgE). There was also an increased level of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) and the infection-fighting interferon gamma (IFN-g), which played important roles in immunomodulation.
Protein ovoalbumin was used to trigger a reaction while the probiotic fermented milk contained the yogurt starters Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus and the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei.
The researchers said the results pointed to such products as a “promising strategy” to improve airway allergies.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Reference Centre for Lactobacilli (CERELA), National University of Tucuman’s Institute of Microbiology and the Centre for Studies on Infant Nutrition (CESNI) in Argentina. Danone Latin America part-funded the research and its Argentinian director of R&D Richard Weill provided the fermented products and participated in the discussion.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1017/S0007114515001981
“Probiotic fermented milk consumption modulates the allergic process induced by ovoalbumin in mice”
Authors: E. M. M. Velez, C. Maldonado Galdeano, E. Carmuega, R. Weill, M. E. Bibas Bonet and G. Perdigo