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Food

Updated on: Monday, December 09, 2019, 10:38 PM IST

Probiotics have different effects on boys and girls

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London: The intake of beneficial microbes like yeast in the form of probiotic food supplements can have different effects on the immune systems of male and female piglets, according to a study which suggested the findings may also apply to human infants.

The researchers, including those from the University of Bristol in the UK, said piglets are valuable pre-clinical models for children in nutritional studies. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, revealed that 28-day old piglets produced very different levels of immune cells, antibodies, and other immune-associated molecules depending on their sex.

They said around 70 per cent of the immune system is in the gut where its development is driven during early life, largely by the resident gut bacteria, contradicting previous evidence that the difference in immunity begins during puberty.

The study also noted that dietary supplements boosting the functions of beneficial gut bacteria work differently in male and female piglets. According to the scientists, the effect of these nutritional interventions can be masked if males and females were looked at all together.

“Correct development of the immune system is essential in ensuring it responds appropriately to both harmful and harmless stimulation throughout life and this development, even during the first days of life, depends on your sex,” said study co-author Marie Lewis from the University of Reading in the UK.

—PTI

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Published on: Monday, December 09, 2019, 10:38 PM IST
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