DuPont Study Proves Effect of Probiotics on Immune Function in Healthy Elderly Subjects

New Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis shows that daily consumption of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019™ B. enhances cellular immune activity in elderly adults[1]

The DuPont™ Danisco® range of premium probiotics is further strengthened by a new Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, published in NutrientsFebruary 2017, and shows that daily consumption of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019™ enhances cellular immune activity in healthy elderly adults.[1]

Research results

Four clinical trials were included in this analysis. Data showed that B. lactis HN019™ supplementation was highly efficacious in increasing polymorphonuclear (PMN) phagocytic capacity with a standardized mean difference (SMD) of 0.74 (95 percent confidence interval: 0.38 to 1.11, p < 0.001) and moderately efficacious in increasing natural killer (NK) cell tumoricidal activity with an SMD of 0.43 (95 percent confidence interval: 0.08 to 0.78, p = 0.02). In conclusion, consumption of B. lactis HN019™ daily enhances cellular immune activity – NK cell and PMN function – in healthy elderly adults.[1]

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that reported polymorphonuclear (PMN) phagocytosis activity or natural killer (NK) cell tumoricidal activity following B. lactis HN019™ consumption in the elderly were conducted. A random effects meta-analysis was performed using standardized mean difference statistics between probiotic and control groups for each outcome.

“This is the first Systematic Review and meta-analysis of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019™ in relation to immune function in elderly – a highly relevant target group since elderly people have increased susceptibility to infections and cancer that are associated with decline in cellular immune function,” said Liisa Lehtoranta, research manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

Immunosenescence – the aging of the immune system

Elderly people represent the fastest growing population globally. Typically, the elderly population has weaker immune responses to vaccination and elevated risk for infections, certain autoimmune diseases, and cancer[2]. Several of these health risks are a consequence of weakening immune function associated with the aging process, i.e., immunosenescence[3]. Gut microbiota plays a significant role in immunosenescence and is influenced by physiological aging process, lifestyle, and diet[4-7]. Research shows that gut microbiota of the elderly has specific features compared to microbiota of younger adults such as lower levels of bifidobacteria and higher levels of Bacteroidetes spp. These changes in microbiota composition may be indicative of dysbiosis and poorer health. Therefore, targeted dietary interventions which restore microbiota composition could potentially help maintain overall health and improve the quality of the life of the elderly.

“We understand people have varying nutritional needs at different stages of their life. Our probiotics have a clear individual benefit with scientific support for a specific target group. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” explained Ole Danielsen, global marketing director, Dietary Supplements, DuPont Nutrition & Health.“With this in mind, we designed DuPont™ HOWARU® Protect Senior to meet the requirements of a senior target group.” HOWARU® Protect Senior contains Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019™ and is part of the HOWARU® Protect product family which includes products targeting kids, adults, seniors, physical active people as well as expecting mothers.  


DuPont™ Danisco® is the brand for a range of products that help provide enhanced bioprotection, an improved nutritional profile and better taste and texture with greater cost efficiency and lower environmental impact, meeting the needs of manufacturers of food and beverages, dietary supplements and pet food.  Through the work of the global network of food scientists and technologists in DuPont, the Danisco® range is supported by a uniquely broad spectrum of know-how across applications and processing. Nutrition & Health

DuPont Nutrition & Health addresses the world’s challenges in food by offering a wide range of sustainable, bio-based ingredients and advanced microbial diagnostic solutions to provide safer, healthier and more nutritious food.  Through close collaboration with customers, DuPont combines knowledge and experience with a passion for innovation to deliver unparalleled customer value to the marketplace. Follow us on LinkedIn.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802.  The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment.  For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit

[1]    Nutrients 2017, 9(3), 191; doi: 10.3390/nu9030191 “The Effect of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 on Cellular Immune Function in Healthy Elderly Subjects: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Larry E. Miller, Liisa Lehtoranta  and Markus J. Lehtinen 

[2] Chou, J.P.; Effros, R.B. T cell replicative senescence in human aging. Curr. Pharm. Des. 2013, 19, 1680–1698. 
[3] Hazeldine, J.; Lord, J.M. Innate immunesenescence: Underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance. Biogerontology 2015, 16, 187–201. 
[4] Mello, A.M.; Paroni, G.; Daragjati, J.; Pilotto, A. Gastrointestinal microbiota and their contribution to healthy aging. Dig. Dis. 2016, 34, 194–201. 
[5] Biagi, E.; Candela, M.; Turroni, S.; Garagnani, P.; Franceschi, C.; Brigidi, P. Ageing and gut microbes: Perspectives for health maintenance and longevity. Pharmacol. Res. 2013, 69, 11–20. 
[6] Cheng, J.; Palva, A.M.; de Vos, W.M.; Satokari, R. Contribution of the intestinal microbiota to human health: From birth to 100 years of age. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol. 2013, 358, 323–346
[7] Biagi, E.; Candela, M.; Franceschi, C.; Brigidi, P. The aging gut microbiota: New perspectives. Ageing Res. Rev. 2011, 10, 428–429.

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