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The aim of the research was to compare the survival of a blend of five probiotic strains (2 bifidobacteria and 3 lactobacilli) in a capsule within capsule (Duocap®) containing Ahiflower® oil, as compared to the strains in the powder (with or without Ahiflower oil), or the strains when present in the inner capsule only. This was tested in a validated, dynamic in vitro model of the stomach and small intestine (TIM-1), simulating human adults. Experiments were performed both in the gastric compartment of the model, as well as in the complete system (stomach + small intestine). Survival of the strains after transit through the gastric compartment in the Duocap capsule was higher by about a factor of 1.5 compared to the other 3 variables. In these gastric experiments, the Ahiflower oil did not seem to have an additional benefit, in the sense that it did not increase survival over the strains alone. After transit through the complete gastrointestinal tract survival was approximately 2-fold higher for the strains within the Duocap capsule, compared to the strains within the inner capsule or the powder. In these experiments, Ahiflower oil did have an additional benefit. The survival of the strains in the combination of powder with Ahiflower oil showed a similar survival as that of the Duocap, although in the first few hours of the experiments survival of both species lagged behind, and only caught up at the end of the test. In conclusion, the developed capsule-in-capsule technology increased the amount of viable cells in the upper gastrointestinal tract, mainly due to the presence of the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in the outer capsule, which particularly protected the blend of probiotics in the small intestine.


K Venema, J Verhoeven, C Beckman, D Keller. Survival of a probiotic-containing product using capsule-within-capsule technology in an in vitro model of the stomach and small intestine (TIM-1). Beneficial microbes. 2020 Aug 12;11(4):403-409

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PMID: 32264687

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