A new study in the March issue of Postgraduate Medicine suggests that a strain of probiotic bacteria, Bacillus coagulans, also known as GanedenBC30 ( GBI-30, PTA-6086), increases the body's immune response to viruses that cause common viral respiratory tract infections like colds and flu.
The study showed a significant increase in T-cell production of TNF-alpha, a key immune marker, versus control on exposure to adenovirus and influenza A in healthy adults who took a daily capsule of GanedenBC30 for 30 days.
Although many health professionals believe that probiotics can help people who have specific health conditions, there has been a lot of controversy about the benefits of probiotics in healthy people. The new study endorses the idea that probiotics can actually benefit those who are healthy.
Results showed a 250% increase in TNF-alpha levels with adenovirus and a 1709% increase in TNF-alpha levels with influenza A after participants took the probiotics for a 30 day period. Increased production of TNF-alpha in response to viral exposure indicates a heightened immunological effect.
Mira Baron, M.D., is the author of the study said "The study helps support the long-suspected belief about the beneficial effects of GanedenBC30 on the immune system and adds to the emerging body of evidence that probiotics can benefit healthy people as well as those with specific health issues."
Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, reviewed the study's findings. "The standard practice today is for people to take medicine to achieve symptomatic relief of colds and flu, but this research hints that healthy adults may be able to boost their immune system to potentially ward off infection and prevent such illnesses."
The study also indicates that different strains of probiotics have different inherent properties, suggesting that the unique ability of GanedenBC30 to survive common conditions that can potentially kill other probiotics before they can have a beneficial effect, such as manufacturing conditions, extreme temperatures, and the harsh gastric environment, may contribute to its ability to support the immune system.
Dr. Ken Alibek, M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., an infectious disease, microbiology, and immunology expert who has studied Bacillus coagulans extensively, believes that the strain may be the most ideal in existence, saying that "no other probiotic has the ability like that of Bacillus coagulans to survive the challenges probiotics face in reaching the intestinal tract where they can do good". He added, "once there, no other strain is as prolific in producing the beneficial by-products responsible for many of the benefits of probiotics."
Andrew Lefkowitz, is the CEO of Ganeden Biotech. They helped fund the study through a research grant and has completed a total of seven clinical trials using GanedenBC30. This includes trials in immunity, IBS, intestinal gas, Crohn's disease, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. "We will continue to fund research investigating the benefits of GanedenBC30 and its ability to improve the quality of life," says Lefkowitz.