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Functional bread could help prevent asthma

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Researchers in Brazil have developed functional bread with the potential to prevent asthma.

The formulation contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905, a strain of brewer’s yeast with probiotic properties that has been shown to attenuate the symptoms of asthma in mice.

In this study, researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) included S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 in naturally fermented bread for the first time.

To assess its potential, the researchers tested and compared three types of bread.

The first was fermented with commercial yeast, the second with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905, and the third with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 plus microcapsules containing live S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905.

Marcos de Carvalho Borges is study author and a professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP).

He said: “We added encapsulated live yeast in order to improve probiotic viability and activity at the high temperature reached during the baking process.

“Microcapsules protect bioactive and probiotic compounds, improving their stability, survival and bioavailability.”

Mice with asthma were fed the different types of bread for 27 days.

At the end of the experiment, the mice fed S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 bread displayed less airway inflammation and lower levels of asthma biomarkers (interleukins 5 and 13, or IL5 and IL13, which are proteins secreted by the immune system).

In mice fed the bread containing microencapsulated yeast, airway hyperresponsiveness and levels of IL17A, another biomarker of asthma, were also reduced.

These results were similar to those of previous studies, confirming that live S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 can help prevent asthma.

Borges said: “We found that both types of bread fermented with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 prevented the development of asthma in the mice, which in conjunction with the results of other experiments shows that this yeast has highly consistent effects and appears genuinely capable of combating this respiratory disorder.”

The next step in the research will see the researchers develop a protocol for a clinical trial to observe the effects of the yeast on human beings.

Borges said: “The product has significant potential.

“Bread is a natural food consumed by almost everyone including children. It’s easily distributed and has a good half-life on the shelf.”

Image Credit: Ana Paula Carvalho

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