Researchers Develop Bread With Probiotic Properties That Reduce Asthma Symptoms in Mice


Mice with asthma that were fed bread with Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905 yeast showed reduced airway inflammation and decreased IL-5 and IL-13 concentrations, and effects increased when combined with microcapsules.

According to findings published in Current Developments of Nutrition, researchers have developed a functional bread with the potential to prevent asthma. The bread contains a strain of brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905, which has probiotic properties and was shown to reduce the symptoms of asthma in mice.1

Various types of bread -- Image credit: Pixel-Shot |

Image credit: Pixel-Shot |

Asthma is one of the most common diseases in the world and is an increasingly frequent respiratory disorder. Characterized by airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, it is also believed to be associated with environmental irritants, diets, and gut microbiota. The researchers note that patients with asthma can benefit from the digestion of probiotics because of the link with gut microbiota, and beneficial bacteria can be administered on their own or—for patients who do not suffer from lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies—blended in dairy products (eg, yogurt, milk, kefir). The investigators note that other methods of administration, such as fruit juices, candies, and breads, can be used to introduce probiotics into consumers.1

For this study, researchers tested and compared 3 different breads in mice with asthma: the first fermented with commercial yeast, the second with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905, and the third with S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 plus microcapsules that contain live S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905. Additionally, characterization of the microbial composition of the 3 breads was performed. Male Balb/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin, and the breads were administered 10 days prior to the first sensitization and challenge protocol. Yeast fecal count, in vivo airway hyperresponsiveness, and airway and lung inflammation were assessed.1,2

“We added encapsulated live yeast in order to improve probiotic viability and activity at the high temperature reached during the baking process,” said study author Marcos de Carvalho Borges, 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.”1

According to the findings, the investigators observed that the mice with asthma who were fed the S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 bread had less airway inflammation and decreased levels of eosinophils and asthma biomarkers (eg, IL-5 and IL-13) after being fed the bread for 27 days. There was also an observed increase in yeast number and a decrease in the total and lactic acid bacteria. In mice that consumed the bread with the microencapsulated yeast, airway hyperresponsiveness was also reduced and IL-17A concentrations were increased.

The findings demonstrate that S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 has the potential to generate long-fermentation breads, and when microcapsules were added, they proved to be a safe and feasible method of integrating live yeast into the bread.1,2

“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,” said Borges in the news release.1

Limitations of the study include not considering bread that was fermented with commercial yeast plus microcapsules and not assessing S. cerevisiae UFMG A-905 microcapsules’ survival following baking. Further trials with human subjects are still required; however, researchers believe that they are prepared to take the next step and develop a protocol for humans.1

“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,” said Borges in the news release.1


1. Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. Brazilian scientists develop functional bread to help prevent asthma. News release. June 17, 2024. Accessed June 19, 2024.
2. Calazans, APCT, Milani, TMS, Prata, AS, et al. A Functional Bread Fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905 Prevents Allergic Asthma in Mice. Curr Dev Nutr. 2024;8(4):102142. Published 2024 Mar 22. doi:10.1016/j.cdnut.2024.102142
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