Probiotic yogurt consumption may improve gastrointestinal symptoms, productivity, and nutritional intake of people living with human immunodeficiency virus in Mwanza, Tanzania.
Nutr Res. 2011 Dec ;31(12):875-81. PMID: 22153512
Stephanie L Irvine
The gut-associated lymphoid tissue is a major site of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity and significantly influences disease prognosis. Reducing immune activation due to gastroenteritis may thus help slow disease progression. Probiotic microorganisms have considerable immunomodulatory effects at the level of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. A probiotic yogurt initiative was thus established in Mwanza, Tanzania, to improve gastrointestinal (GI) integrity and reduce the incidence and severity of opportunistic infections among people with HIV. The research objective was to retrospectively evaluate the effects of yogurt supplemented with Lactobacillus rhamnosus as an adjunct to the diet of people living with HIV on systemic and GI symptoms, daily routine activities, and nutritional intake. Eighty-five people with HIV consuming probiotic yogurt and 86 controls were interviewed. Demographics and HIV disease stage were comparable between groups. Probiotic yogurt consumers reported an ability to work a median of 2 hours more daily (P = .01), experienced a lower fever incidence (P = .01), and were more likely to achieve daily nutrient requirements for vitamin A, several B complex vitamins, and calcium (P = .02). Antiretroviral users experienced less drug-induced stomach pain (P = .02) and a lower overall impact of GI symptoms on routine activities (P = .03). The results of this study need be further substantiated because of limits imposed by the observational, retrospective study design; however, results suggest that yogurt supplemented with L rhamnosus may effectively alleviate GI symptoms and improve productivity, nutritional intake, and tolerance to antiretroviral treatment among people with HIV in Mwanza.