We all know that a healthy, balanced diet is important for supporting our immune system. And some specific ingredients may provide an additional boost, to help protect us from viral and bacterial infections.

At NIZO, over the years we have developed a coherent and scientifically sound approach to investigate the role of food ingredients in infections and immunity. A key aspect of that approach, a human challenge model for gut infections, is now described in detail in a publication in Scientific Reports.

In summary, it was shown in a clinical trial that challenging healthy volunteers with an attenuated diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain results in short-lived, relatively mild clinical symptoms and consistent changes in immune and inflammation markers. The controlled challenge setting allows well-timed data collection, in a relatively small study population. Applying the E. coli challenge in combination with a food intervention provides a unique research approach for investigating the potential benefits of functional food ingredients in promoting resistance to infection, with involvement of both the innate and the adaptive immune system.

NIZO collaborated in this project with researchers from Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, Nutrileads, and Wageningen University and Research. The research was funded by unrestricted grants from Société des Produits Nestlé SA and OP-Oost (Operational Program Eastern Netherlands), a joint program of the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland.

Should you wish to discuss the above, please contact Alwine Kardinaal, Principal Scientist Nutrition and Health, or Business Development Manager Ioana Iorga.