Effect of Yogurt on Mucosal Immunity in the Gastrointestinal Tract

Field Testing

RESEARCHER: Danielle Lemay, USDA

TIMELINE: 2 Years, January 2023 – December 2024

BACKGROUND: The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the difficult task of absorbing nutrients while excluding microorganisms and non-nutritive foreign agents. This miracle is achieved with components of GI mucosal immunity, such as the mucin layer, anti-microbial peptides, secretory IgA, and more. In a prior CDRF-funded observational study, we identified a trend for increased mucosal protection among yogurt consumers compared to non-consumers.

OBJECTIVE: To measure mucosal protection in an intervention trial in which adults are supplied with twice daily servings of yogurt. We hypothesize that mucosal immunity will be improved within two weeks of daily yogurt consumption and that this protection dissipates by two weeks after the yogurt is discontinued. To determine the potential of dairy products to impact a novel aspect of gut health. To inform future trial design for comparisons against nondairy alternatives which would not be expected to confer similar GI protection.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: The results of this initial trial will help us plan the intervention length, washout length, and sample size needed for a crossover trial comparing the effects of dairy yogurt to those of a non-dairy alternative.