Happyman asked for the link to Dannon’s cited studies. I’ll discuss each one below in turn. They also link to a page called the scientific summary where you can read about cellular permeability and other esoteric effects that don’t seem to be clinical.
The first study cited is a British study looking at about 1,000 babies aged 6 to 24 months and the incidence of self limited diarrheal illness (you know it’s a British study, because they spell it “diarrhoea”) in babies randomized to either standard yogurt and the Lactobacillus casei yogurt. The study lasted four months. Well, it didn’t decrease the number of diarrheal episodes, but it did decrease the duration by about 4 days.
The next study is from Spain. 136 university students randomized to receive either a glass of skim milk a day or milk spiked with this Lactobacillus frappe. They wanted to see if they could attenuate the known decline in lymphocytes from stress prior to exams, and thereby reduce anxiety. (I wish they had looked at exam performance). Well, there was no difference in anxiety, but there was a difference in lymphocyte count, as well as the amount of CD56, which the DAnnon website tells us is “one of the most important cells for the defense system of our body” (???). Not too impressive methinks.
Next they cite a British study looking at 360 elderly people to see if yogurt spiked milk could reduce diarrheal illness in the elderly. Oops, it didn’t reduce the number of diarrheal illnesses. But it did cut the duration from about 9 days to about 7. (Are any of these studies done in the U.S.? I guess because the DAnnon center is in Italy, Europe gets all the free spiked milk).
I’m not going to even bother looking at their last quoted study because the claim is only that the decrease in NK cells during exercise is less in those drinking their spiked cultures. What an accomplishment! Nowhere do any of these citations point to any improved outcomes.
Does that mean there is nothing to the claims about the benefits of this “probiotic”? I’ll quote you some studies tomorrow that might show some benefits. However, I just want to take this opportunity to point out that it isn’t as relevant to point out the limited benefits of this product, as it is to identify how misleading their advertising is.
The problem is the assumption people will make about the immune system they are referring to. People hear that phrase and think “the common cold” or other respiratory and bodily infections. That’s the conclusion they want you to reach. Ridiculous. What is the FCC thinking letting them run this commercial?