Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis bb-12 protects against antibiotic-induced functional and compositional changes in human fecal microbiome

Daniel Merenstein, Claire M. Fraser, Robert F. Roberts, Tian Liu, Silvia Grant-Beurmann, Tina P. Tan, Keisha Herbin Smith, Tom Cronin, Olivia A. Martin, Mary Ellen Sanders, Sean C. Lucan, Maureen A. Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics is often associated with antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), and impacts gastrointestinal tract homeostasis, as evidenced by the following: (a) an overall reduction in both the numbers and diversity of the gut microbiota, and (b) decreased short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Evidence in humans that probiotics may enhance the recovery of microbiota populations after antibiotic treatment is equivocal, and few studies have addressed if probiotics improve the recovery of microbial metabolic function. Our aim was to determine if Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 (BB-12)-containing yogurt could protect against antibiotic-induced fecal SCFA and microbiota composition disruptions. We conducted a randomized, allocation-concealed, controlled trial of amoxicillin/clavulanate administration (days 1–7), in conjunction with either BB-12-containing or control yogurt (days 1–14). We measured the fecal levels of SCFAs and bacterial composition at baseline and days 7, 14, 21, and 30. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to the BB-12 group, and 20 participants to the control group. Antibiotic treatment suppressed the fecal acetate levels in both the control and probiotic groups. Following the cessation of antibiotics, the fecal acetate levels in the probiotic group increased over the remainder of the study and returned to the baseline levels on day 30 (−1.6% baseline), whereas, in the control group, the acetate levels remained suppressed. Further, antibiotic treatment reduced the Shannon diversity of the gut microbiota, for all the study participants at day 7. The magnitude of this change was larger and more sustained in the control group compared to the probiotic group, which is consistent with the hypothesis that BB-12 enhanced microbiota recovery. There were no significant baseline clinical differences between the two groups. Concurrent administration of amoxicillin/clavulanate and BB-12 yogurt, to healthy subjects, was associated with a significantly smaller decrease in the fecal SCFA levels and a more stable taxonomic profile of the microbiota over time than the control group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2814
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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