- Yakult Trial at Loughborough University, UK -
TOKYO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - Results of a recent trial by Professor Michael
Gleeson of Loughborough University, the UK, have demonstrated a clear
health benefit for athletes drinking the commercially available
fermented milk drink Yakult, which contains the unique probiotic strain
LcS. The athletes were staff and students at the university who were
involved in regular intensive sports training, such as cycling,
triathlon, middle-long distance running or swimming.
The results confirmed that daily consumption of Yakult was effective in
reducing the incidence of common colds (i.e. upper respiratory tract
infections, or URTIs) in the athletes. In earlier research, it has been
demonstrated that as a group, athletes are susceptible to infections
due to a depression of their immune system.
The study was fully described and published online in the scientific
peer-reviewed publication International Journal of Sport Nutrition &
The double-blind trial was conducted in 84 endurance athletes. Subjects
were divided into 2 groups: 42 received Yakult (6.5 x 10 (9) = raising
10 to the 9th power = live cells of the probiotic strain LcS in each
bottle) and 42 received a placebo. After the subjects consumed the
given drink twice daily for 16 weeks, the drinking effect on the
incidence of URTIs and immune parameters was examined.
The summary of the results is as follows:
Incidence of URTI (generally known as common cold)
The proportion of subjects from the Yakult group who experienced one or
more weeks with URTI symptoms was 66%, which was significantly lower
than that from the placebo group (90%).
Effect on immune parameters
Saliva IgA concentration (1), which can be lowered by prolonged hard
sports, was higher in the Yakult group than in the placebo group.
Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that daily consumption
of fermented milk drink containing LcS lowers the incidence of URTIs in
athletes who are engaged in prolonged hard sports. The amount of sIgA
antibodies was kept in an optimal condition, which can be considered as
one of the factors for the effect.
*The placebo drink did not contain LcS. The taste and color of both the
placebo drink and Yakult were similar. By comparing the effects of
intake of each drink, the efficacy of Yakult can be scientifically
(1) sIgA is an antibody contained in saliva and airway mucus, and plays
a critical role to prevent virus infection.
[Comment from Prof. Michael Gleeson of Loughborough University] Prof.
Michael Gleeson (of Exercise Biochemistry in the School of Sport,
Exercise and Health Sciences), who led the study at Loughborough
University, commented: "There is relatively little evidence for the
effectiveness of so-called dietary immunostimulants in the athletic
population but this study suggests that a probiotic product may help to
reduce the risk of infection. Athletes hate the thought of picking up
colds as even minor ailments can impair their training and performance
or even stop them from competing."
[Comment from Dr. Haruji Sawada, Ph.D., director of the Yakult Central
Institute for Microbiological Research (YCIMR)] Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.
participated in this study as sponsor by providing funding and test
Dr. Haruji Sawada of the YCIMR commented: "It is a valuable result that
the daily consumption of our product, Yakult, is proven to contribute
to the maintenance of a good state of the upper respiratory tract in
healthy sports persons. This study has resulted in important data that
are further evidence of immune benefits associated with drinking
SOURCE YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD
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