Daily supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis was found to improve immune health in elderly adults, according to a study by researchers from the University of Reading and published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. The daily probiotic was found to significantly increase white blood cell activity in the participants when compared to people who took placebo.

Specifically, the phagocytic activity of white blood cells increased. Phagocytosis occurs when immune cells “eat” bacteria cells and is one of the main ways in which infection is fought by the immune system. The aging population is more susceptible to infection due to a decrease in immune function, a decrease in beneficial Bifidobacteria, and an increase in potential pathogens, hence the importance of immune support supplements during the golden years.

“Consumption of B. lactis could potentially improve clearance of bacteria from the body without contributing to the low-grade inflammation observed in the elderly population,” noted the researchers. “Thus, consumption of the probiotic may provide long-term health benefits for the elderly by not contributing to inflammation-associated metabolic disorders while enhancing the innate immune defense against infections.”

Bifidobacteria levels decline as we age, so I always recommend a high-Bifido probiotic to anyone over 50. Bifidobacteria is such an important probiotic overall that I recommend that just about everyone take a high-Bifido probiotic, but it is even more important as we age.