We know that transgenic mice have benefited from the use of probiotics, but what about humans?  This study seeks to answer the question.

Simple Summary

University researchers in Iran published a paper in November of 2016 looking at the use of probiotics in subjects with Alzheimer’s.  The results showed improvement in some (but not all) measures of Alzheimer’s pathology.  Importantly, the probiotics did improve cognitive function.

More Detail

Individuals with Alzheimer’s were put into either the treatment group or the control group.  Participants between the ages of 60 and 95 who did not have a clinically relevant disorder and who were not taking probiotics were chosen.

Each participant was given the Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE). The average baseline score for each group was close to 8.5 (scores at 9 or below indicate severely impaired cognition), so these individuals are not in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but in a more advanced stage.  A baseline measurement of  biomarkers in the blood of each participant was established.

Each group was given milk daily for 12 weeks.  The treatment group received milk with a probiotic mixture added.

After 12 weeks the control group’s results were as expected (a continued decrease in cognitive function).

The probiotic group, however, exhibited improvements in cognition, insulin metabolism, triglyceride levels, and other biomarkers.  The probiotic group’s average score on the MMSE improved to over 10.5, a nearly 2 point jump that moved them from the severely impaired classification to moderately impaired (although at the lowest level of that category).

Into The Weeds

Effect of Probiotic Supplementation on Cognitive Function and Metabolic Status in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind and Controlled Trial

Triglyceride levels improved as VLDL levels were reduced, but not in LDL or HDL or Cholesterol.

MDA levels showed a significant decrease indicating a reduction in lipid peroxidation.

HsCRP was also favorably effected indicating a reduction in inflammation.

“Other measures of oxidative stress and inflammation, FPG and other lipid profiles were negligible.”

Alzheimer’s treatments that show promise in the early stages of the disease rarely yield results in patients in the later stages.  The improvement in cognitive function scores seen here is significant for that reason alone.