Documented benefits of the LGG® strain in immune health

By Scientific advisor Mie Kristensen

Interaction with the immune system is an important mechanism of probiotic bacteria (Bron et al. 2011). Seventy to eighty percent of the body’s immune cells are located in the gastrointestinal tract (Vighi et al. 2008), and gut microbes, including transiently colonizing probiotic bacteria, play a significant role in shaping immune responses (Macpherson et al. 2004).

There are several mechanisms with which probiotics are believed to shape the immune response:

  1. A major component of the cell wall of the LGG® strain has been shown to interact with several cells and receptors within the immune system, which suggests that the LGG® strain may induce host immune responses that are beneficial for supporting the defense against pathogens (Claes et al. 2012).

  2. Pili from the LGG® strain can interact with immune cells and induce secretion of immune factors (Tytgat et al. 2016).

  3. The LGG® strain genome contains a specific DNA motif that can stimulate immune cells if the LGG® bacteria is lysed in the intestine (Iliev et al. 2008; Iliev et al. 2005).


Clinical documentation on the LGG® strain in immune health

Clinical documentation on the immunomodulating effects of the LGG® strain exists for several health areas. Here we take a look at two of these health areas.


The LGG® strain and respiratory tract health

There is evidence from human clinical studies that some probiotic bacteria support the host immune defense against pathogens in the respiratory tract. The effect of the LGG® strain on pathogens in the respiratory tract has been evaluated in several studies. In one study children supplemented with the LGG® strain for three months showed a better defense against pathogens in the upper respiratory tract compared to children in the placebo group (Hatakka et al. 2001). Other clinical studies have confirmed these results, showing the supportive effect of the LGG® strain on the defense against pathogens in the upper respiratory tract (Hojsak et al. 2010a; Hojsak et al. 2010). Furthermore, the LGG® strain in combination with Bifidobacterium, BB-12® has been tested in college students living in dormitories. Here students consuming probiotics showed better defense against virus and bacteria in the upper respiratory tract compared to students in a placebo group (Smith et al. 2013).

The LGG® strain systemic immune response

Probiotics may interact with the immune system in various ways. A method to show this response is using a vaccine containing killed or attenuated pathogens, which will result in a specific immune response. Response to such a challenge can be used as an indicator of an integrated immune response (Albers et al. 2005; Burleson and Burleson 2007). The LGG® strain has been tested in vaccine studies in adults. In one study the LGG® strain was given in combination with a polio vaccine (De Vrese et al. 2005) and one in combination with an influenza vaccine (Davidson et al. 2011). In both studies the LGG® strain induced an immunological response that may support a systemic protection from viruses by increasing production of neutralizing antibodies.

The LGG® strain is the world’s most documented probiotic strain and the evidence suggests that the LGG® strain can induce a beneficial physiological change in the immune system and support the defense against the pathogens surrounding us.



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