Can this bread help to prevent asthma?

Posted: 28 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Brazilian researchers have developed a functional bread that is made using probiotic yeast that “shows potential” to combat asthma.


In a study, Brazilian scientists developed a functional bread that they claim can help to prevent asthma.

The bread itself was formed using probiotic yeast and was tested in experiments with mice.

Asthma affects 20 million people in Brazil, and 300 million people worldwide live with the condition. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stated that asthma’s prevalence increases by 50 percent every 10 years.

The functional bread has already had a patent application filed by the researchers and has been explored in article published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition.

It contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905, a specific strain of brewer’s yeast with probiotic properties that has been shown to attenuate the symptoms of asthma in mice.

Scientists have highlighted that further trials involving human volunteers are needed.

The study, which was funded by FAPESP and carried out by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP), included S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 in naturally fermented bread for the first time.

Working in partnership to complete the study, groups at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) collaborated on the project.

In order to test the potential of the functional bread, researchers tested and compared three types of bread. The first was fermented with commercial yeast, the second with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905, and the third with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 plus microcapsules containing live S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905.

“We added encapsulated live yeast in order to improve probiotic viability and activity at the high temperature reached during the baking process,” commented Marcos de Carvalho Borges, last author of the article and a Professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP).

“Microcapsules protect bioactive and probiotic compounds, improving their stability, survival and bioavailability.”

For 27 days, mice with asthma were fed different types of bread as part of the study. At the end of the experiment, the mice fed S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 bread were found to display “less airway inflammation and lower levels of asthma biomarkers” (interleukins 5 and 13, or IL5 and IL13, which are proteins secreted by the immune system).

Meanwhile, for the mice that were fed the bread containing microencapsulated yeast, airway hyperresponsiveness and levels of IL17A – another biomarker of asthma – were also reportedly reduced.

“We found that both types of bread fermented with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 prevented the development of asthma in the mice, which in conjunction with the results of other experiments shows that this yeast has highly consistent effects and appears genuinely capable of combating this respiratory disorder,” Borges said.

Looking at how the study could support those living with asthma, the scientists acknowledge that there are limitations to the study, for example including bread fermented with commercial yeast plus microcapsules and not assessing the survival of S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 microcapsules after baking.

However, the research team has shared that they believe they can now take the next step, which will consist of developing a protocol for a clinical trial to observe the effects of the yeast on human beings.

“The product has significant potential. Bread is a natural food consumed by almost everyone including children. It’s easily distributed and has a good half-life on the shelf,” concluded Borges.

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