Although persistent constipation is considered to be associated with skin problems, the supporting evidence is limited. Hence, this study investigated the effects of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk on skin and intestinal conditions in an open-label trial. Among the 101 Japanese healthy young female students that participated, the 81 subjects in the intake group consumed a bottle of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult and galactooligosaccharides daily for 4 weeks after a pre-intake period of 4 weeks, while the 20 subjects in the non-intake group did not consume the test beverage. Defecation patterns, skin conditions including hydration levels in the stratum corneum, and urinary phenol and p-cresol levels were evaluated before (baseline) and after intake. All subjects completed the study. No differences in dietary intake and body mass index were observed between both groups during the trial. In the intake group, hydration levels of the stratum corneum, defecation frequency, and feces quantity significantly increased, and urinary phenol and p-cresol levels significantly decreased after intake compared with the corresponding baseline values. However, they did not significantly change in the non-intake group. A significant difference was observed between the intake group and non-intake group in regard to clearness of the skin as assessed by visual analogue scale. Therefore, consecutive intake of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk might have beneficial effects on the skin that prevent dryness and beneficial effects on the intestinal conditions that stimulate defecation and decrease phenol production by gut bacteria in healthy young women.
Daidzein (DZN) is converted to equol (EQL) by intestinal bacteria. We previously reported that Eggerthella sp. YY7918, which is found in human feces, is an EQL-producing bacterium and analyzed its whole genomic sequence. We found three coding sequences (CDSs) in this bacterium that showed 99% similarity to the EQL-producing enzymes of Lactococcus sp. 20-92. These identified CDSs were designated eqlA, eqlB, and eqlC and thought to encode daidzein reductase (DZNR), dihydrodaidzein reductase (DHDR), and tetrahydrodaidzein reductase (THDR), respectively. These genes were cloned into pColdII. Recombinant plasmids were then introduced into Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) and DZNR, DHDR, and THDR were expressed and purified by 6×His-Tag chromatography. We confirmed that these three enzymes were involved in the conversion of DZN to EQL. Purified DZNR converted DZN to dihydrodaizein (DHD) in the presence of NADPH. DHDR converted DHD to tetrahydrodaizein (THD) in the presence of NADPH. Neither enzyme showed activities with NADH. THDR converted THD in the absence of cofactors, NAD(P)H, and also produced DHD as a by-product. Thus, we propose that THDR is not a reductase but a new type of dismutase. The GC content of these clusters was 64%, similar to the overall genomic GC content for Eggerthella and Coriobacteriaceae (56–60%), and higher than that for Lactococcus garvieae (39%), even though the gene cluster showed 99% similarity to that in Lactococcus sp. 20-92. Taken together, our results indicate that the gene cluster associated with EQL production evolved in high-GC bacteria including Coriobacteriaceae and was then laterally transferred to Lactococcus sp. 20-92.
A clinical trial was conducted on 39 adult HCV-positive subjects to determine the safety and long-term effect of the probiotic FK-23 (heat-treated Enterococcus faecalis strain FK-23). Asymptomatic anti-HCV positive adults who fulfilled the selection criteria and gave voluntary consent were recruited from attendees of the Hepatitis Carrier Clinic, Department of Medical Research (Lower Myanmar). Each subject was given 2,700 mg of FK-23 per day by oral route. Blood samples were taken at enrollment and every 3 months and tested for alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). Viral load, urea, total protein, hemoglobin and platelet count were determined every 6 months. Among the subjects, 23 completed 36 months, 31 completed 24 months, 35 completed 12 months and 37 completed 6 months of probiotic therapy. Significant decreases in mean ALT levels were observed at 3 months (34. 9 ± 15.1 IU/l) as compared with the initial level (64.8 ± 17.5 IU/l) and persisted up to 36 months (43.7 ± 25.2 IU/l). Decrease of AST was detected after 9 months (46.2 ± 21.7 IU/l) of probiotic therapy as compared with the initial level (64.3 ± 28.7 IU/l). FK-23 was safe based on the stable levels of biochemical and hematological parameters and the absence of untoward side effects. The FK-23 preparation was well tolerated and accepted by the subjects.
An open-label study with one treatment arm was conducted to investigate changes in health-related biomarkers (blood pressure and liver enzyme activity) and the safety of 4 weeks of consuming a purple-fleshed sweet potato beverage in Caucasian subjects. Twenty healthy adults, 18–70 years of age, with a body mass index >25 kg/m2, elevated blood pressure and elevated levels of liver function biomarkers consumed two cartons of purple-fleshed sweet potato beverage (125 ml, including 117 mg anthocyanin per carton) daily for 4 weeks. Hematology, serum clinical profile, dipstick urinalysis and blood pressure were determined before consumption, at 2 and 4 weeks of consumption and after a 2-week washout period. A trend was found toward lowering systolic blood pressure during the treatment period (p=0.0590). No significant changes were found in diastolic blood pressure throughout the study period. Systolic blood pressure was significantly lower after 4 weeks of consumption compared with before consumption (p=0.0125) and was significantly higher after the 2-week washout period compared with after consumption (p=0.0496). The serum alanine aminotransferase level significantly increased over time, but aspartate aminotransferase and γ-glutamyltransferase levels stayed within the normal range of reference values. Safety parameters of the blood and urine showed no clinically relevant changes. The consumption of a purple-fleshed sweet potato beverage for 4 weeks resulted in no clinically relevant changes in safety parameters of the blood and urine and showed a trend toward lowering systolic blood pressure.
Oxidative stress is considered an etiological factor responsible for several symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In vitro anti-inflammatory activities of heat-killed Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis BF3 have been reported. In this study, the anti-inflammatory effect of these cells was examined using a dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced murine IBD model. Administration of heat-killed L. lactis BF3 via drinking water suppressed the IBD symptoms, such as shortening of colon length, damage to the colon mucosa as observed under the microscope, and spleen enlargement. This result suggests that heat-killed L. lactis BF3 has the potential to treat IBD.
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric illness. Disruption of the dopaminergic system has been suggested to be the pathogenic cause of this disease. The effect of Bifidobacterium longum BB536 (BB536) on schizophrenic behavior was investigated in an animal model. Daily administration of BB536 (109 CFU/mouse, p.o. for 2 weeks) was found to reduce rearing behavior augmented by the dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine and to decrease the resting level of plasma corticosterone and the ratio of kynurenine to tryptophan. These results suggest the potential of BB536 for supplemental treatment of the symptoms of schizophrenia.