Endothelial Function is improved by Inducing Microbial Polyamine Production in the Gut: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.

Nutrients. 2019;11(5)

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Plain language summary

Endothelial dysfunction is an early warning sign for plaque formation in atherosclerosis. This study explores the Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis (Bifal) and arginine (Arg) on endothelial function in forty-four healthy subjects. The subjects were randomised to receive 100g daily of natural yoghurt containing Bifal and Arg, or a placebo, for a total of twelve weeks. In a precursor to this study, the authors found that Bifal and Arg increased the production of certain polyamines in the gut, essential to cell proliferation and inhibition of inflammation. They concluded that exogenous polyamines from foods may be of benefit to cardiovascular health. In this follow-up study they measured fecal, blood and urine samples to analyse polyamine concentration, bacterial DNA, serum polyamine, inflammatory cytokines, triglycerides and other biochemical parameters. The reactive hyperemia index (RHI), the primary outcome, was measured using endo-peripheral arterial tone (EndoPAT). The results showed that the participants who received the Bifal and Arg yoghurt saw their RHI increase from 1.50 to 1.81, suggesting that Bifal + Arg YG intake restored endothelial function to normal levels. The other biomarkers measured also suggested an improvement of vascular endothelial function with a reduction in serum platelet and triglyceride levels, two risk factors for atherosclerosis.


undefined: Recently, it was demonstrated that spermidine-induced autophagy reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in mice. Intestinal bacteria are a major source of polyamines, including spermidine. We previously reported that the intake of both subsp. (Bifal) and arginine (Arg) increases the production of putrescine, a spermidine precursor, in the gut. Here, we investigated the effects of Bifal and Arg consumption on endothelial function in healthy subjects. Healthy individuals with body mass index (BMI) near the maximum value in the "healthy" range (BMI: 25) ( = 44) were provided normal yogurt containing Bifal and Arg (Bifal + Arg YG) or placebo (normal yogurt) for 12 weeks in this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparative study. The reactive hyperemia index (RHI), the primary outcome, was measured using endo-peripheral arterial tone (EndoPAT). The change in RHI from week 0 to 12 in the Bifal + Arg YG group was significantly higher than that in the placebo group, indicating that Bifal + Arg YG intake improved endothelial function. At week 12, the concentrations of fecal putrescine and serum putrescine and spermidine in the Bifal + Arg YG group were significantly higher than those in the placebo group. This study suggests that consuming Bifal + Arg YG prevents or reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Immune and inflammation ; Structural
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Microbiome
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood ; Stool ; Urine

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 4
Allocation concealment : Yes
Publication Type : Journal Article