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Yogurt Containing Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 Helps Resolve Moderate Diarrhea and Increases CD4 Count in HIV/AIDS Patients

Anukam, Kingsley C. PhD* † ‡; Osazuwa, Emanual O. PhD*; Osadolor, Humphrey B. MD§; Bruce, Andrew W. MD; Reid, Gregor PhD, MBA∥ ¶

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: March 2008 - Volume 42 - Issue 3 - p 239-243
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31802c7465
ALIMENTARY TRACT: Clinical Research

HIV/AIDS is changing the human landscape in sub-Saharan Africa. Relatively few patients receive antiretroviral therapy, and many suffer from debilitating diarrhea that affects their quality of life. Given the track record of probiotics to alleviate diarrhea, conventional yogurt fermented with Lactobacillus delbruekii var bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus was supplemented with probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. Twenty-four HIV/AIDS adult female patients (18 to 44 y) with clinical signs of moderate diarrhea, CD4 counts over 200, and not receiving antiretrovirals or dietary supplements, consumed either 100 mL supplemented or unsupplemented yogurt per day for 15 days. Hematologic profiles, CD4 cell counts, and quality of life was evaluated at baseline, 15 and 30 days postprobiotic-yogurt feeding. There was no significant alteration in the hematologic parameters of both groups before and after the probiotic-yogurt feeding. The probiotic yogurt group at baseline, 15 and 30 days had a mean WBC count of 5.8±0.76×109/L, 6.0±1.02×109/L, and 5.4±0.14×109/L, respectively. However, the mean CD4 cell count remained the same or increased at 15 and 30 days in 11/12 probiotic-treated subjects compared to 3/12 in the control. Diarrhea, flatulence, and nausea resolved in 12/12 probiotic-treated subjects within 2 days, compared to 2/12 receiving yogurt for 15 days. This is the first study to show the benefits of probiotic yogurt on quality of life of women in Nigeria with HIV/AIDS, and suggests that perhaps a simple fermented food can provide some relief in the management of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

*Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin

Chidak Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, 200 M. M. Way, Benin City

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, Benson Idahosa University, P.M.B. 1100

§Department of Chemical pathology, Central Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, 268 Grosvenor Street

Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Surgery, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Drs Anukam, Osazuwa and Osadolor have no conflicts.

Dr Reid declares he holds patents for the use of Lactobacillus GR-1 and RC-14 for urogenital health, but not for HIV diarrhea or CD4 applications.

This research is funded in part by Urex Biotech Inc and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Reprints: Dr Gregor Reid, PhD, MBA, Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario, N6A 4V2 Canada (e-mail:

Received for publication August 17, 2006; accepted October 20, 2006

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.