Elderly individuals may be able to enhance their immune systems by consuming moderate daily amounts of cheese containing probiotic bacteria, according to a new Finnish study.
"The increase in the proportion of aged individuals in modern society makes finding innovative ways to thwart the deterioration of the immune system a priority," said lead author Fandi Ibrahim.
"The intake of probiotic bacteria has been reported to enhance the immune response through other products, and now we have discovered that cheese can be a carrier of the same bacteria," he added.
Ibrahim and his colleagues sought to discover whether the consumption of cheeses containing probiotic bacteria could successfully confront immunosenescence—the age-related deterioration of the immune system.
Immunosenescene is known to make the body more vulnerable to infectious diseases, inflammation disorders and all forms of cancer.
During the study, volunteers between the ages of 72 and 103 were randomly assigned to eat one slice of probiotic Gouda cheese or a placebo with their breakfast for four weeks. At the point of follow-up, the researchers performed blood tests and found that patients in the study group improved their immunity and increased their phagocytic activity.