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Open Access Research

Evaluation of the functional efficacy of an antioxidative probiotic in healthy volunteers

Epp Songisepp1, Jaak Kals2, Tiiu Kullisaar2, Reet Mändar1, Pirje Hütt1, Mihkel Zilmer2 and Marika Mikelsaar1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, University of Tartu, 50411 Tartu, Estonia

2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Tartu, 50411 Tartu, Estonia

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Nutrition Journal 2005, 4:22  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-22

Published: 4 August 2005

Abstract

Background

In persons without clinical symptom it is difficult to assess an impact of probiotics regarding its effect on health. We evaluated the functional efficacy of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 in healthy volunteers by measuring the influence of two different formulations on intestinal lactoflora, fecal recovery of the probiotic strain and oxidative stress markers of blood and urine after 3 weeks consumption.

Methods

Two 3-week healthy volunteer trials were performed. Open placebo controlled (OPC) study participants (n = 21) consumed either goat milk or by L. fermentum ME-3 fermented goat milk (daily dose 11.8 log CFU (Colony Forming Units). Double blind randomised placebo controlled (DBRP) study participants (n = 24) received either capsules with L. fermentum ME-3 (daily of dose 9.2 CFU) or placebo capsules.

The faecal lactoflora composition, faecal ME-3 recovery, effect of the consumption on intestinal lactoflora, and oxidative stress markers of blood (total antioxidative activity; total antioxidative status and glutathione red-ox ratio) was measured.

Results

ME-3 was well tolerated and a significant increase in total faecal lactobacilli yet no predominance of ME-3 was detected in all study groups. Faecal recovery of ME-3 was documented by molecular methods only in fermented milk group, however the significant improvement of blood TAA (Total Antioxidative Activity) and TAS (Total Antioxidative Status) indices was seen both in case of fermented goat milk and capsules", yet glutathione re-ox ratio values decreased only in case of fermented by ME-3 goat milk.

Conclusion

The functional efficacy of both consumed formulations of an antioxidative probiotic L. fermentum ME-3 is proved by the increase of the intestinal lactobacilli counts providing putative defence against enteric infections and by reduction of the oxidative stress indices of blood and urine of healthy volunteers. In non-diseased host the probiotic health claims can be assessed by improvement of some measurable laboratory indices of well-established physiological functions of host, e.g. markers of antioxidative defence system.