ITMO Scientists Determine Impact of Probiotics on Human Gut Microbiome

A group of researchers from ITMO University and the company Knomics conducted a month-long experiment studying how the microbiota of 150 volunteers responded to regular consumption of probiotics-enriched fermented dairy products. Published in Nutrients, the findings demonstrate that the introduction of these dietary changes increases the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which in its turn can have a positive impact on the overall health condition. The project was conducted with the participation of PepsiCo R&D Inc.

Probiotics. Credit:

Modern research is constantly bringing out new confirmations that gut microbiome has a significant impact on our overall health. This is why the examination of the gut’s microbial community structure and the search for ways to influence it are now among the scientific community’s most topical tasks. ITMO University researchers approach these through the analysis of metagenome, or data on genetic sequences of elements of gut microbiota.

In their new study, the scientists applied metagenomic analysis of the 16S rRNA microbial gene sequencing to assess the gut microbiota’s response to regular consumption of probiotics-enriched fermented dairy products. They established that this diet brings about an increase in the presence of potentially beneficial bacteria, namely Bifidobacterium genus, Adlercreutzia equolifaciens and Slackia isoflavoniconvertens, which contribute to better metabolization of lactose and synthesis of vitamins and amino acids. These bacteria are also known to enhance the body’s anti-inflammatory, hormonal and cardiovascular functions.

The project’s experimental group included 150 healthy adults who consumed 125 mL of probiotics-fortified yogurt in the morning and evening for the duration of 30 days. Clinical data on the volunteers’ gut microbiome was collected on the first and last days of the study. The findings revealed a number of changes in the ratio of different types of microbiota. The intensity of changes varied across the group, depending on the participants’ baseline microbiota composition, but the changes themselves were invariably positive.

Yogurt. Credit:
Yogurt. Credit:

“Each person’s microbiota has a range of unique features, which explains the difference in responses to a changed diet we obtained. Nevertheless, the analysis of the baseline state of a particular microbiome can enable us to predict whether it would respond to the diet or not. These findings can be applied when developing personalized dietary plans aimed at improving individual health condition of patients,” commented Alexander Tyakht, a researcher at ITMO University and one of the authors of the paper.

Reference: Human Gut Microbiome Response Induced by Fermented Dairy Product Intake in Healthy Volunteers. Olesya Volokh et al. Nutrients. 4 Mar 2019.

Scientific Communications Office