A Double‐Blind, Randomized Intervention Study on the Effect of a Whey Protein Concentrate on E. coli‐Induced Diarrhea in a Human Infection Model

Laurien H. Ulfman*, Joyce E.L. Schloesser, Guus A.M. Kortman, Maartje van den Belt, Elly Lucas‐van de Bos, Joris Roggekamp, R.J.J. van Neerven, Mojtaba Porbahaie, Els van Hoffen, Alwine F.M. Kardinaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Infectious diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Nutritional interventions may enhance resistance to infectious diseases or help to reduce clinical symptoms. Here, we investigated whether a whey protein concentrate (WPC) could decrease diarrheagenic Escherichia coli‐induced changes in reported stool frequency and gastrointestinal complaints in a double‐blind, parallel 4‐week intervention study. Subjects were randomly assigned to a whey hydrolysate placebo group, a low‐dose WPC group or a high‐dose WPC group. After 2 weeks of consumption, subjects (n = 121) were orally infected with a high dose of live but attenuated diarrheagenic E. coli (strain E1392/75‐2A; 1E10 colony‐forming units). Subjects recorded information on stool consistency and the frequency and severity of symptoms in an online diary. The primary outcome parameters were a change in stool frequency (stools per day) and a change in Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) diarrhea score between the first and second days after infection. Neither dose of the whey protein concentrate in the dietary treatment affected the E. coli‐induced increase in stool frequency or GSRS diarrhea score compared to placebo treatment. The composition of the microbiota shifted between the start of the study and after two weeks of consumption of the products, but no differences between the intervention groups were observed, possibly due to dietary guidelines that subjects had to adhere to during the study. In conclusion, consumption of the whey protein concentrate by healthy adults did not reduce diarrhea scores in an E. coli infection model compared to a whey hydrolysate placebo control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1204
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Diarrhea
  • E. coli infection
  • Human infection model
  • Whey protein concentrate

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