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Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bi-07 supports lactose digestion in vitro and in randomized, placebo- and lactase-controlled clinical trials

  • 2022-12
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 116(6)
    • Pia Rasinkangas
    • S. Forssten
    • M. Marttinen
    • A. Ibarra
    • G. Bothe
    • J. Junnila
    • R. Uebelhack
    • Y. Donazzolo
    • A. Ouwehand


Background: Probiotics may alleviate lactose maldigestion.

Objectives: The objective was to select a probiotic with high lactase activity and compare it with lactase and placebo in clinical trials.

Methods: Bacterial cultures were screened for lactase activity in a model of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bi-07 (Bi-07) counts were adjusted in subsequent experiments to correspond to 4500 Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) units of lactase, the amount in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)-approved health claim. Two crossover clinical trials, Booster Alpha and Booster Omega, were performed in participants with lactose intolerance, where 2 × 1012 CFUs Bi-07, 4662 FCC lactase, or placebo was consumed simultaneously with a lactose challenge, with 1-wk washouts between challenges. The trial designs were identical except for the source of lactose. Breath hydrogen concentration (BHC) was measured to assess the effect of the investigational products on lactose digestion, for which incremental area under the curve (iAUC) was the primary outcome. Peak BHC, cumulative BHC, and GI symptoms were secondary outcomes.

Results: Bi-07 was superior to placebo in reducing BHC [iAUC, parts per million (ppm) ∙ h] in both trials (Booster Alpha: geometric least square mean ratio: 0.462; 95% CI: 0.249, 0.859; P = 0.016; Booster Omega: 0.227; 95% CI: 0.095, 0.543; P = 0.001). Lactase was superior to placebo in Booster Alpha (0.190; 95% CI: 0.102, 0.365; P < 0.001) but not Booster Omega (0.493; 95% CI: 0.210, 1.156; P = 0.102). Noninferiority of Bi-07 compared with lactase was observed in Booster Omega (0.460; 95% CI: 0.193, 1.096; P = 0.079; CI upper limit < 1.25 noninferiority margin). Odds of abdominal pain (compared with placebo: 0.32, P = 0.036) and flatulence (compared with placebo: 0.25, P = 0.007) were lower with lactase in Booster Alpha. Increased odds of nausea were seen with Bi-07 (compared with placebo: 4.0, P = 0.005) in Booster Omega.

Conclusions: Bi-07 has high lactase activity, and in 2 clinical trials, it supported lactose digestion in individuals with lactose intolerance.These trials were registered at as NCT03659747 (Booster Alpha) and NCT03814668 (Booster Omega).

Keywords: Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07; breath hydrogen concentration; in vitro; lactase; lactose intolerance; lactose maldigestion; probiotic; randomized controlled trial.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07Increased NauseaHarmful
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07Reduced Breath Hydrogen ProductionBeneficial

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