Paraprobiotics are inactivated microbial cells or cell fractions, such as peptidoglycans, teichoic acids, and surface proteins, that confer health benefits to the consumer.
Most of the paraprobiotics are located in the bacterial cell-envelope. They differ from postbiotics, which are secreted proteins and peptides, bacteriocins, and organic acids.
The paraprobiotic that Asahi is studying is Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 (CP2305), which was originally isolated from the stool sample of a healthy volunteer and was shown to alleviate stress.
For example, the findings of a 12-week study, published in The Journal of Functional Foods, show that the daily intake of CP2305 could reduce stress-associated mental and physical symptoms related to preparation for a national certification examination.
That study also reported changes in the subjects’ salivary cortisol concentrations.
Other studies conducted on CP2305 included its effects in reducing premenstrual symptoms and reducing fatigue and stress in university athletes.
Eighty women between 40 and 60 years old were involved in the latest Asahi-funded study on women undergoing menopause.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial, the women took either two tablets containing 100bn CFU of CP2305 or two placebo tablets for six consecutive menstrual cycles.
Two questionnaires were used to assess the effects of CP2305 and the placebo, namely the Simplified Menopausal Index (SMI) and the Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS). The lower the scores, the less serious the menopausal symptoms were.
Some of the symptoms assessed in these questionnaires are hot flashes, sweats, chills, and shortness of breath or palpitation, as well as sleep disturbances, irritability, headache etc.
Findings of the study were recently published in Nutrients.
There is growing attention on the use of the ‘biotics’ in alleviating menopause.
South Korean firm, Huons, for example, has developed and launched a probiotic, Menolacto, for menopausal health.
The product contains the firm’s proprietary probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus YT1, developed with the Korea Food Research Institute.
Other South Korean probiotic companies such as Cell Biotech, the company behind probiotic brand Duolac, as well as the firms AceBiome and Navipharm, have also identified new market opportunities in menopausal health.
Results showed that the supplementation of CP2305 has significantly reduced both SMI and GCS scores when compared to the placebo.
For instance, SMI total score had decreased from 46.2 ± 1.7 at baseline to 42.3 ± 2.2 for the placebo group and from 46.7 ± 1.9 to 40.7 ± 2.3 for the intervention group by the end of the study.
Similarly, the GCS total score had decreased from 11.9 ± 0.8 to 8.7 ± 2.1 for the intervention group and to a lower extent from 10.1 ± 0.7 to 9.6 ± 1.6 for the placebo group by the end of the study.
Aside from measuring the pre-and-post study differences, the researchers also calculated the percentage of women who reported an alleviation in the symptoms in both groups.
However, there was no significant differences in the percentage of women whose symptoms were alleviated between the two groups, as the p-value was higher than 0.05.
“The percentage of women whose symptoms were alleviated by the SMI total score was 75.0% (30 of 40) in the CP2305 group compared to 55.0% (22 of 40) in the placebo group (p = 0.059 by χ2 test).
“On the other hand, the percentage of women whose symptoms were alleviated by the GCS total score was 52.5% (21 of 40) in the CP2305 group versus 40.0% (16 of 40) in the placebo group (p = 0.262 by χ2 test),” said the researchers.
The study also did not assess the changes in the gut microflora.
Nonetheless, the researchers concluded that the study “shows that consumption of Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 improves mild psychological symptoms that are unique to menopausal women, and improves the most common vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes.”
For future studies, the researchers said there was a need to study the mechanism of action of CP2305 on hormonal fluctuations, the composition of the gut flora and the metabolism of the estradiol (E2) hormone.
Stress hormones, such as cortisol, and autonomic activity will also be evaluated.
“Further studies will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 on the psychological health of women at various stages, and to elucidate the psychological mechanism,” the researchers said.
Effects of Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 on Mild Menopausal Symptoms in Middle-Aged Women
Authors: Daisuke Sawada et al