Probiotic Yogurt Consumption is Associated With an Increase of CD4 Count Among People Living With HIV/AIDS
Aim: To evaluate the long term effect of yogurt supplemented with Lactobacillus rhamnosusFiti on the immune function (CD4 count) of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Background: Gastrointestinal infections and the leakage of microbial products from the gut have a profound impact on the deterioration of the immune system among people living with HIV/AIDS. Among persons not infected with the virus, probiotics can prevent gastrointestinal infections and restore an effective gut barrier, suggesting they might have a beneficial effect on the immune function of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Study: We carried out an observational retrospective study over a period of 3 years, with longitudinal comparison of the CD4 count within participants (n=68) before and during probiotic yogurt consumption, and compared with a control group of participants not consuming the yogurt (n=82).
Results: Among the yogurt consumers before use and the nonconsumers, an average increase in CD4 count was seen of 0.13 cells/μL/day (95% CI; 0.07-0.20, P=<0.001). After commencing consumption, yogurt consumers experienced an additional increase of 0.28 cells/μL/day (95% CI; 0.10-0.46, P=0.003). When adjusting for length of time using antiretroviral medication, the additional increase explained by yogurt consumption remained 0.17 cells/μL/day (95% CI; 0.01-0.34, P=0.04). Treatment with antiretroviral medication was associated with an increase of 0.27 cells/μL/day (95% CI; 0.17-0.38, P=<0.001).
Conclusion: The introduction of probiotic yogurt, made by local women in a low-income community in Tanzania, was significantly associated with an increase in CD4 count among consumers living with HIV.