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Synbiotics show promise for cutting inflammatory biomarkers in obese kids

Last updated on 06-May-2014 at 16:32 GMT2014-05-06T16:32:04Z

"The presents findings are consistent with those on the connection between gut microbiota, inflammation, and homeostasis, and their role in the pathogenesis of obesity and related disorder," said the researchers

Daily supplements containing seven probiotic bacterial strains and a prebiotic fiber may reduce markers of inflammation in obese children, says a new study.

Eight weeks of supplementation resulted in significant reduction in tumor necrosis-alpha and interleukin-6, with the changes dependent on weight reduction, according to results published in the Jornal de Pediatria , a bimonthly publication of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics.

“The low degree of inflammation in obesity contributes to systemic metabolic dysfunction,” explained the authors from the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

“This trial was the first of its kind in the pediatric age group to investigate the effect of synbiotic supplementation on inflammatory factors in overweight and obese children and adolescents.

“It was observed that the intake of synbiotic had favorable results in weight reduction of obese children and adolescents, as well as in significant changes of serum TNF-alpha, IL-6, and adiponectin, without change in the hs-CRP level. However, the changes in inflammation markers were dependent on weight reduction.”


According the FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host". Prebiotics are "non-digestible substances that provide a beneficial physiological effect on the host by selectively stimulating the favorable growth or activity of a limited number of indigenous bacteria". Synbiotics are a combination of the two.

The new study used synbiotic capsules from Protexin (London, England), which contained a total of 200 million colony forming units (CFU) per day of Lactobacillus casei, L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium breve, and B. longum, and fructo oligosaccharide prebiotic fiber, as well as vitamins A, C, and E.

Study details

The researchers recruited 70 overweight and obese children and adolescents to participate in their randomized, placebo-control trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either the synbiotic supplement or placebo for eight weeks.

Results showed that, for the 56 kids who completed the trial, synbiotic supplements were associated with significant decreases in TNF-alpha and IL-6, compared to placebo. Specifically, TNF-alpha levels decreased by 8% in the synbiotic group, compared with a 10% increase in the placebo group, while IL-6 levels decreased by 8.3% in the synbiotic group, compared with a 0.8% deccrease in the placebo group.

Significant increases in adiponectin were also observed in the synbiotic group, said the researchers. Adiponectin is a hormone released from fat cells, which plays an important role in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and energy.

“The presents findings are consistent with those on the connection between gut microbiota, inflammation, and homeostasis, and their role in the pathogenesis of obesity and related disorders, as well as with the findings on the relationship of diet and gut microbiota with homeostasis, as investigated in experimental models of diet-induced obesity,” wrote the researchers.

“It appears that, because of the association between obesity and inflammation, it can be proposed that the favorable effects of probiotics in controlling inflammation may play a role in obesity prevention and control.”

Source: Jornal de Pediatria
March–April 2014, Volume 90, Issue 2, Pages 161-168, doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2013.07.003
“A randomized triple-masked controlled trial on the effects of synbiotics on inflammation markers in overweight children”
Authors: R. Kelishadi, S. Farajian, M. Safavi, M. Mirlohi, M. Hashemipour

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