New findings from a Giellepi Health Science Division (Giellepi S.p.A) clinical research trial demonstrates that a mixture of probiotic strains and lactoferrin could aid in reducing the most common cause of vaginal discomfort in women.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal inflammation, characterised by a depletion of beneficial bacteria (lactobacilli) and an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina. Typically women in their reproductive years may suffer from BV, though it can impact women of any age. Antibiotics are used for the short-term treatment of BV but recurrent infections remain a problem.

The findings of the Giellepi SpA-sponsored study using DuPont premium probiotic strains published in Beneficial Microbes, assess the efficacy of a probiotic mixture, including Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, in combination with bovine lactoferrin RCX, as adjuvant therapy to metronidazole in women with recurrent BV. The randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial involved 48 adult women and assessed the normalisation of Nugent score, remission of symptoms, and recurrences during a six-month follow-up period.

Study details

In the study, women with symptomatic BV were treated with metronidazole (500 mg twice daily) for seven days and were randomly assigned to take simultaneously either orally probiotic mixture plus lactoferrin (verum) or placebo (two capsules/day for five days followed by one capsule/day for 10 consecutive days; induction phase). The verum or placebo administration (one capsule/day for ten consecutive days) was repeated monthly (maintenance phase) during the six months of follow-up starting the first day of menstrual cycle as the menstrual blood increases the vaginal pH and contributes an increased risk of recurrences.

The results showed that symptoms (vaginal discharge and itching) and Nugent score, were significantly improved and BV recurrence rate was significantly reduced by the probiotic-lactoferrin combination when compared with placebo. This alternative approach may represent a safe and effective adjunct for the restoration and maintenance of healthy vaginal microbiota in reducing risk for recurrent BV.

Making a strong connection

"This research is extraordinary because it offers further evidence that specific probiotics as dietary supplements can be used to manage BV," said Megan DeStefano, global marketing manager, Probiotics, DuPont Nutrition & Health. "There has long been evidence of this, but the current study makes a strong connection that probiotics could in fact reduce the risk of this condition."
Rosario Russo, scientific officer of Giellepi Health Science Division added, "In the past, qualitative studies have shown that BV is associated with a substantial negative impact on self-esteem, sexual relationships, and quality of life. In many respects, these study results have the potential to positively influence the lives of countless women who can now feel more confident and secure with themselves and in their relationships."

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