Science shorts: Lactic acid bacteria, goat milk, omega-3 in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Image of a science laboratory. ©Getty Images
Image of a science laboratory. ©Getty Images

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This round-up of the latest scientific research looks at how lactic acid bacteria supplementation in children could reduce school absenteeism linked to cold and flu, New Zealand’s goat milk healthy ageing research, omega-3’s role in Japan’s fewer COVID-19 casualties and more.
Lactic acid bacteria drink reduces school absenteeism caused by cold, flu in Vietnamese children – Kirin-funded RCT  

The supplementation of a lactic acid bacteria drink has shown to reduce absenteeism in school kids linked to cold and flu within four weeks, said the findings of a Kirin-funded RCT.

The beverage studied contains Lactococcus lactis ​subsp. lactis ​JCM 5805, also known as LC-Plasma – a functional ingredient by Kirin.  

About 1,000 students between primary one and three took part in the RCT, where they were randomised to take either the placebo or the intervention – a 280ml drink containing 50mg of heat-killed LC-plasma – equivalent to 1 trillion CFU. 

Formula for success? NZ channels USD$750,000 for goat milk healthy ageing research to boost exports

New Zealand is ploughing in cash to boost its goat milk formula industry by funding research to assess the impact on healthy ageing, from digestive to muscle health, and overall nutritional status.

The research, which spans over three years from 2022 to 2024, aims to identify the impact of adding whole milk powders to older adult diets on digestive comfort, nutritional status and skeletal muscle function.

One of the research applications will be on colostrum-based formulas, said NIG Nutritionals Limited, the industry partner of this project.

Probiotics and Type 1 diabetes: Supplementation along with insulin improves outcomes – RCT

Probiotic supplementation in addition to conventional insulin treatment may boost outcomes for Type 1 diabetics, according to a six-month trial from China.

Beneficial strains include Lactobacillus salivarius subsp. salicinius AP-32​, L. johnsonii MH-68​, and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CP-9​, said the researchers who published the findings in Frontiers in Endocrinology​.

After the six-month intervention, the average blood glucose for the probiotics group decreased to 161.9 mg/dL and the HbA1c levels decreased to 8.5%. However, the placebo group’s HbA1c levels maintained at 9.5%.

Gut microbiome and blood lipids: Blood cholesterol reduction linked with growth in Clostridia leptum​ 

Blood cholesterol reduction is linked with the growth of the Clostridium leptum bacteria species in the intestinal microbiome, according to a study conducted in Singapore.

The study looks at how the consumption of three different cooking oils – one containing refined olive oil and the other two containing refined rice bran oil, refined flaxseed oil, and refined sesame oil – could affect blood cholesterol.

Gut microbiome analysis showed that the cooking oil with the highest concentration of omega-3 PUFA was associated with faster and more robust responses in the intestinal microbiota. Findings were published in Biofilms and Microbiomes.

Higher Omega-3 intake a key nutritional factor for Japan’s fewer COVID-19 casualties than US - Review 

Higher levels of omega-3 intake, including DHA and EPA, coupled with less junk food consumption, could be two key nutritional factors in explaining Japan’s fewer COVID-19 casualties compared to the US.

This is according to a scientific review published on Nutrients, ​where 1,209 papers were accessed, with the researchers deriving 10 major factors for comparison, like nutritional prevention, obesity and immunity, and nutritional intake.

The paper concluded that the large differences in nutrient intakes and the prevalence of obesity, but not racial differences, may be partly responsible for differences in the incidence and mortality of COVID-19 between the U.S. and Japan.

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