HN019 is a strain from the Bifidobacterium lactis species of bacteria. It is sometimes referred to as Bifidobacterium lactis DR10TM. B. lactis HN019 is a gram positive, anaerobic, non spore forming rod shaped bacterium. The B. lactis HN019 strain was originally isolated from a yogurt source.
Safety and survival
Researched in: new-borns, children, adults, pregnant women and the elderly
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 – Safety and Survival
B. lactis HN019 is a probiotic strain with research demonstrating its safety and survival to reach the gut alive.
A randomised controlled trial (gold standard) in 2018 found 10 billion CFU of B. lactis HN019 to be safe and well tolerated after a month supplementation (Ibarra A et al., Effects of 28-day Bifidobacterium Animalis Subsp. Lactis HN019 Supplementation on Colonic Transit Time and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Adults With Functional Constipation: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, and Dose-Ranging Trial, 2018).
Another RCT gave B. lactis HN019 to new-borns for two years. Mothers also took the probiotic from 35 weeks gestation until six months post birth. No statistical differences were noted between the placebo and probiotic group in terms of adverse events, as such the authors concluded the strain to be safe (Dekker J et al., 2009).
B. lactis HN019 has been detected in stools suggesting successful passage through the digestive system. This has been shown in studies where B. lactis HN019 was isolated in nearly all faecal samples in those who consumed the probiotic compared with no participants in the control group (Oswari H. et al., 2013 ; Prasad, 2013).
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and gastrointestinal issues
Poor intestinal health can manifest as a range of gastrointestinal symptoms (GI) including constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pains. This can sometimes present as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many over the counter medications offer short term relief but often do not get to the root cause. Probiotics have been researched for IBS and general GI symptoms. B. lactis HN019 has been shown to alleviate GI issues and support gut motility.
A RCT assessed the effects of B. lactis HN019 on whole gut transit time (WGTT) and the frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms in 88 adults. Participants were divided into three groups: the first group were given a high dose (17.2 billion CFUs), the second group a lower dose (1.8 billion CFUs) and the third group a placebo. Each group took their respective supplement for 14 days. Improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms were observed in both probiotic groups. The higher dose appeared to offer the most notable impact with 8/9 of the gastrointestinal symptoms improving (Graph 1), though even the lower dose probiotic appeared to result in a significant improvement with 7/9 symptoms improving. Only 2/9 symptoms improved in the placebo group. These impressive scores indicate that the B. lactis HN019 strain is significant for improving overall gut health and may benefit individuals with IBS or a wide range of GI issues.
To assess for WGTT, participants ingested radiopaque markers and underwent x-rays to identify the speed of transit when taking B. lactis HN019. WGTT significantly improved in both probiotic groups; 33% reduction in the high dose and 25% in the lower dose. No changes were noted in the placebo group. These results suggest B. lactis HN019 is able to promote gut regularity naturally and safely. This could be particularly beneficial to those who suffer with constipation (Waller P et al., 2011).
An RCT assessed B. lactis HN019 in 228 adults with functional constipation (according to the Rome III criteria). Individuals received either a high dose (10 billion CFU), low dose (1 billion CFU) or placebo daily for 28 days. Few statistical differences were noted between the groups. However, individuals that had 3 or less bowel movements per week had increases in weekly bowel movements in both probiotic groups. An extra 2 movements in the high dose and 1.7 in the lower dose. Those in the high dose group also had a reduced degree of straining. Overall, the study showed B. lactis HN019 to promote bowel regularity in individuals with low stool frequency (Ibarra A et al., 2018).
Another RCT was conducted, assessing a probiotic combination on 47 individuals with constipation. Participants were divided to receive either a yoghurt supplemented with B. lactis HN019 (1 billion CFU) with Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® (1 billion CFU) and polydextrose (prebiotic properties) or a non-supplemented yoghurt (control) daily for 14 days. WGTT significantly improved in the probiotic group compared with control. Little changes were noted in daily bowel movements in both groups; this could be due to a low dosage used (Magro D et al., 2014).
B. lactis HN019 has been shown to improve digestive symptoms and support gut regularity. This was also confirmed in a meta-analysis in 2016 which assessed a range of probiotics on intestinal transit time. The analysis reviewed 15 RCT including 675 participants. The authors concluded only two strains showed most promise in reducing transit time, one of which was B. lactis HN019 as the strain showed medium to large treatment effects (Miller L et al., Contemporary meta-analysis of short-term probiotic consumption on gastrointestinal transit, 2016) .
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on the microbiome
Improving the gut microbial composition may not only improve gut health, but this can have systemic effects including our mental wellbeing, skin health, metabolic health and much more. Prebiotics have extensive research on their ability to boost beneficial bacteria, probiotics less so. B. lactis HN019 has been shown to elicit favourable modulatory effect on the gut microbiota.
An RCT monitored the microbiota composition of 30 healthy participants. They were randomly divided into 3 groups: the first group were given a milk drink containing 2.4g of galacto-oligosccharides (GOS) per day, the second group were given a milk drink containing 30 billion CFU of B. lactis HN019 per day, and those in the third group were given a control milk. The study was split into three parts, the first part involved a two-week pre intervention period. After this, participants were given their respective supplement to take daily over four weeks. This was then followed by a two week wash out period. Faecal samples were collected from each of the participants every week and their microbiota analysed. Significant increase in levels Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria were noted in both the probiotic and prebiotic groups. The placebo group showed no change in their gut microbiota composition. This evidence indicates that supplementing with either prebiotics or probiotics could offer this beneficial effect. This offers hope for those who are sensitive to prebiotics, who could potentially still experience an improvement in their intestinal health by taking B. lactis HN019 alone (Gopal P et al., 2003)
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Modulation of the Immune System
The potential for our gut microbiome to affect our immune function is being widely explored. Emerging evidence indicates that our resident bacteria do interact with and influence the activity of our immune cells, which include phagocytic cells (monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils), cytokines and immunoglobins.
A three stage ‘before, during, and after’ randomised trial was conducted to look at how B. lactis HN019 might enhance immune function in 50 healthy Taiwanese citizens. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups labelled A and B. In the preliminary stage, both groups simply received a plain low-fat milk drink (LFMD) for 3 weeks. In stage 2, those in group A were given LFMD containing B. lactis HN019, and those in group B were given the same probiotic in a lactose hydrolysed LFDM, both for a period of 3 weeks. During the third stage of the study, both groups were put back onto a plain LFMD for a further 3 weeks. Researchers found LFMD alone (stage 1) had no effect on immune responses. In stage 2, both groups with B. lactis HN019 supplementation exhibited significant improvements in phagocytosis by the PMN (polymorphonuclear) cells and NK cell tumour killing activity. Those who consumed B. lactis HN019 in lactose-hydrolysed LFMD (Group B) were had significantly higher NK cell tumour killing activity than Group A. They also had slightly higher PMN activity- although this did not reach significance. This was likely due to the production of prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides from the lactose hydrolysis. The enhanced immune responses observed during stage 2 appeared to level off once probiotic consumption ceased. However, the plateaued responses were still an improvement on those recorded in the pre-treatment phase (stage 1). This suggests immune enhancement by B. lactis HN019 had a sustained effect. The authors concluded that B. lactis HN019 enhanced immune function of two different types of leucocytes.
Another three-stage clinical trial was conducted to assess B. lactis HN019 on immune function in 30 healthy elderly volunteers. The first stage involved a non-treatment run-in period where participants consumed a low-fat milk drink. In the second stage, participants received milk supplemented with either 5 or 50 billion CFU of B. lactis HN019 for three weeks. The last stage consisted of a three week wash out period. Both probiotic doses gave similar results. Immune function significantly increased after B. lactis HN019 supplementation. Increases in CD4+, CD25+ and NK cells were noted after probiotic supplementation. Phagocytic capacity also increased. Interestingly, the most notable improvements in immune function were seen in those subjects who displayed poor immune responses pre-treatment (Gill H et al., 2001).
Elderly people have an increased vulnerability to infections which is often associated with a degeneration in cellular immune function. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to ascertain the efficacy of the probiotic B. lactis HN019 on cellular immune function in the elderly. This review included controlled studies which looked at polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell phagocytic activity or natural killer (NK) cell activity following consumption of B. lactis HN019. Four clinical trials were selected with intervention periods of 3-6 weeks, using doses of between 5-300 billion CFU of the probiotic. Although the number of subjects in the trials was modest, all consistently found that daily short-term consumption of probiotic B. lactis HN019 enhanced PMN phagocytic capacity. NK cell activity was also enhanced, but not to the same level as PMN activity. Overall, the study found B. lactis HN019 to support natural immune activity in elderly adults (Miller L et al., 2017).
B. lactis HN019 has also been trialled in pregnant women in their last trimester. Participants received either B. lactis HN019, L. rhamnosus HN001 or a placebo daily, 2-5 weeks before delivery continuing through to six months postpartum. Promising results were seen in both probiotic groups. TGF-ß1 and IgA levels in the breast milk were statistically higher in B. lactis HN019 group. IFNy levels in the cord blood were also raised in the B. lactis HN019 group compared with placebo. This result was significant in the L. rhamnosus HN001 group. These results suggest that B. lactis HN019 supplementation in pregnancy may support foetal immune develop and improve immune parameters in breast milk (Prescott SL et al., 2008).
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Children
Growing evidence suggests that a healthy gut microbiota is associated with good health in children. In fact, our health in early life may dictate our health and wellbeing in later childhood or adulthood. Early childhood therefore may present an ideal window of opportunity to intervene with probiotics.
A RCT was conducted to investigate effects of probiotics on iron status, anaemia and growth in 624 children aged between 1-4 years of age. The children were enrolled and randomly assigned to two different groups. In the first group, children received a milk fortified with 19 billion CFU’s of B. lactis HN019 along with an additional prebiotic (2.4 g/day of prebiotic oligosaccharides milk). The second group received a control milk drink. Both groups took their respective supplement daily for 12 months, blood tests were conducted along with weight and height measurements taken at the baseline, mid study and at the end of the study. Results indicated that children who had consumed the synbiotic fortified milk were 45% less likely to experience anaemia and iron deficiency compared to placebo. The children in the probiotic group also increased weight gain by 0.13kg/year (Sazawal S et al., 2010).
An additional RCT was conducted in India on a group of 379 healthy children (aged 2-5) to see if probiotics could reduce the incidence of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is a major cause of mortality among children under five years old and is considered to be a significant public health issue in India. Three randomly allocated groups of children received, either Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37® or Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, each at a dose of 2.5 billion CFUs per day, or a placebo, for a period of 9 months. They were assessed for weight gain, growth and occurrence of diarrhoea and fever symptoms. The results were interesting in that neither of the tested probiotics; L. paracasei Lpc-37® or Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 had any influence on weight gain or linear growth and there was no significant effect of the probiotics on the incidence of diarrhoea and fever when looking at the whole trial period. However, during the wet season the occurrence of diarrhoea was statistically significantly higher in placebo group (16.9%) compared to L. paracasei Lpc- 37 (11.7 %) and B. lactis HN019 groups (8.4 %). A similar difference was seen in the incidence of fever with the placebo group being (11.5%) compared to the L. paracasei Lpc-37® group (7%) and B. lactis HN019 group (7.3%) (Hemalatha R et al., 2014).
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Metabolic Disorders
Metabolic disorders are a growing health concern. They may manifest as a variety of different health conditions including obesity, diabetes, and thyroid dysfunction. Symptoms are typically a large waist circumference, elevated blood sugar/blood pressure/cholesterol levels, increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. Individuals are considered to have metabolic syndrome (MetS) when they display at least three of the classic symptoms, and there is an increased risk of cardiovascular problems in affected individuals. Probiotics are one of the natural interventions which are being studied to assess their potential to support such conditions.
A randomised controlled trial was conducted to assess the effects of B. lactis HN019 in 51 participants with MetS. The participants were divided into two groups: one group were given 80 mL fermented milk 27.2 billion CFUs of B. lactis HN019 for 45 days, the other group received no intervention and were used as the control. Those in the probiotic group showed a significant reduction in body mass index, total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) compared to baseline and control groups. B. lactis HN019 also showed a decrease in pro inflammatory cytokines; TNFα and IL-6. These results show potential for B. lactis HN019 to help support those patients with MetS and CVD risk (Bernini L et al., 2016).
Authors: Information on this strain was gathered by Joanna Scott-Lutyens BA (hons), DipION, Nutritional Therapist; and Kerry Beeson, BSc (Nut.Med) Nutritional Therapist; and Dr Kate Stephens PhD Food and Microbial Sciences; Gut Microbiology (University of Reading), BSc Medical Microbiology.
Last updated – 9th June 2020
As some properties & benefits of probiotics may be strain-specific, this database provides even more detailed information at strain level.Read more about the strains that we have included from this genus below.
Bernini L et al. (2016). Beneficial effects of Bifidobacterium lactis on lipid profile and cytokines in patients with metabolic syndrome: A randomised trial. Effects of probiotics on metabolic syndrome. Nutrition, 32(6):716-9.
Chiang B et al. (2000). Enhancing immunity by dietary consumption of a probiotic lactic acid bacterium (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019): optimisation and definition of cellular immune responses. Eur J Clin Nutr, 54: 849-855.
Dekker J et al. (2009). Safety aspects of probiotic bacterial strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium animalis subs. lactis HN019 in human infants aged 0-2. International Dairy Journal, 149-154 .
Gill H et al. (2001). Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Am J Clin Nutr, 74: 833-839.
Gopal P et al. (2003). Effects of the consumption of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (DR10TM) and galacto-oligosaccharides on the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract in human subjects’. Nutr Res, 23: 1313-1328.
Hemalatha R et al. (2014). A Community-based Randomised Double Blind Controlled Trial of Lactobacillus paracasei and Bifidobacterium lactis on Reducing Risk for Diarrhoea and Fever in Preschool Children in an Urban Slum in India. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 4(4): 325-341.
Ibarra A et al. (2018). Effects of 28-day Bifidobacterium Animalis Subsp. Lactis HN019 Supplementation on Colonic Transit Time and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Adults With Functional Constipation: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, and Dose-Ranging Trial. Gut Microbes, 9(3):236-251.
Magro D et al. (2014). Effect of yogurt containing polydextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019: a randomised, double-blind, controlled study in chronic constipation. Nutr J., 24;13:75. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-75.
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Miller L et al. (2017). The Effect of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 on Cellular Immune Function in Healthy Elderly Subjects: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 9(3):191.
Oswari H. et al. (2013 ). Comparison of stool microbiota compositions, stool alpha1-antitrypsin and calprotectin concentrations, and diarrhoeal morbidity of Indonesian infants fed breast milk or probiotic/prebiotic-supplemented formula. J Paediatr Child Health, 49(12): 1032-1039.
Prasad, J. e. (2013). Detection of viable Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (DR10™) in stools of children during a synbiotic dietary intervention trial. Int Dairy J, 30(2):64-67.
Prescott SL et al. (2008). Supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Bifidobacterium lactis probiotics in pregnancy increases cord blood IFNy and breast milk transforming growth factor B and immunoglobin A detection. Clinical and experimental Allergy , 38 (10): 1606- 1614.
Sazawal S et al. (2010). Effects of Bifidobacterium Lactis HN019 and Prebiotic Oligosaccharide Added to Milk on Iron Status, Anemia, and Growth Among Children 1 to 4 Years Old. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 51(3):341-6.
Waller P et al. (2011). Dose-response effect of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on whole gut. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology,, 46: 1057–1064.