Recent research has indicated that probiotic Gouda cheese is good for the immune system of the elderly1. So is it beneficial for the rest of us?
The study involved giving a very small group of elderly folk a 15g slice of gouda cheese to which two known probiotics had been added.
The two probiotics used in this study were Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM.
You can buy L rhamnosus HN001 in Proboulardi. This is a blend of L rhamnosus HN001, B lactis HN019, and S boulardii.
And the later one is found in my favorite yogurt, EasiYo, alhthough not in great quantities. If you want this specific probiotic you are better off taking a supplement such as Intestinal Care DF which contains 6 billion cfu of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM as well as 6 billion Bifidobacterium lactis. It is guaranteed to have those amounts at expiration date provided "proper handling" ie.refrigeration, has been observed.
Incidentally - this is one reason why yogurt is such a good carrier of L acidophilus NCFM because yogurt is kept cold from manufacturer to consumer much more reliably than capsules are.
And you can buy a selection of authentic aged gouda cheeses from Holland's Family Farm. Their Gouda is full of beneficial bacteria and they use the traditional cultures imported from Holland (the ancestral home of Gouda).
Or, if you look at the bottom of this page you will see a selection from your US Amazon.
If you live in the UK you can buy Aged Farmhouse Gouda Cheese through your local Amazon.
The actual probiotic Gouda cheese used in the study is made in Norway and is available commercially but as yet I have not tracked down a supplier. Will provide a link as soon as I can.
It is important to understand that the study was to assess the practicality of using cheese as a medium for giving probiotics to consumers rather than a study of what is naturally in Gouda. Both of these probiotics can be bought as supplements.
Gouda cheese is a Dutch cheese, historically made in the town of Gouda but now made all over, and is made in the famous "wheel" shape. It can be mild or more flavorsome, depending on how long it is aged for.
Traditionally it will contain bacteria such as:-
Lactococcus lactis subsp lactis
Lactococcus lactis subsp cremoris
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus
Lactococcus lactis subsp biovar diacetylactis
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp cremoris
You can see that the 2 well known yogurt starter bacteria are in there.
Now in the study mentioned Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM were also added to make a probiotic Gouda cheese but you can see that you are getting a wonderful "dose" of friendly lactic acid bacteria even before that.
So is this beneficial to the rest of us who aren't actually in the elderly age bracket yet?
I can see no reason why not. Lactic acid bacteria are good for us although in the study, the old folk who ate the control cheese which would have had all the same bacteria EXCEPT the two probiotics added did NOT gain the same effect that the study group did.
"The probiotic combination tested showed a significant improvement in NK cell ability to kill target tumor cells and the phagocytosis activity of granulocytes and monocytes," said the researchers.
They also said, "Our results support the earlier studies demonstrating an enhancement of natural and acquired immunity indices in mice and in elderly populations." My thoughts are that it is unlikely to help only mice and old folk!
This study endorses the health benfits of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM more than Gouda cheese. But, of course, the probiotic Gouda cheese contains the best of all worlds.
In the title of the study they use the word immunosenescence. This describes the age-related changes that happen in the immune system. These include decreases in cells efficiency to activate T and B cell populations, declines in the generation of new naive T and B cells, and in natural killer (NK) cells' ability to kill tumor cells, and reduced humoral responses after infection.
Because of these changes to the immune response, the frequency and severity of infectious disease, chronic inflammatory disorders, autoimmunity, and cancer incidence are all more likely to occur.
1. Fandi Ibrahim, Suvi Ruvio, Linda Granlund, Seppo Salminen, Matti Viitanen, Arthur C. Ouwehand. Probiotics and immunosenescence: cheese as a carrier. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology Volume 59, Issue 1, Pages 53-59.