Bifidobacterium probiotic shows metabolic and anti-obesity benefits: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto / Jezperklauzen
Image © iStockPhoto / Jezperklauzen

Related tags Metabolic syndrome Obesity

Supplements containing Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 may reduce body weight and cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome, says a new study from Brazil.

Forty-five days of supplementation was also associated with significant reductions in levels of pro-inflammatory markers, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), according to findings published in Nutrition​.

Researchers from the University of North Parana—Unopar and the University of Londrina report that this is the first study to evaluate the effects of a species of Bifidobacterium in people with metabolic syndrome (MetS), a condition characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

“Although the fecal microbiota was not characterized in the present study, the high daily intake of ​B. lactis as allochthonous microbiota can positively affect the microbial balance leading to an improvement of the lipid metabolism and weight loss,” ​they wrote. “The mechanisms involved in body weight reduction are not clear, but studies have pointed to the reduction of adipocyte size, inhibition of adipogenesis, and suppression of energy intake.”

Study details

The Brazilian researchers recruited 51 people with MetS to participate in their randomized control trial. Participants were randomly assigned to a control group or placebo milk group providing 27.2 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of B. animalis​ ssp. lactis​ ssp. nov. HN019 per 80 mL serving.

After 45 days of intervention, the researchers reported that the probiotic milk group showed significant reductions in body mass index of 1.3 kg/m2, whereas values did not change in the control group. Total and LDL cholesterol levels also significantly decreased in the probiotic group by 7.2% and 13.6%, compared to baseline levels. Total cholesterol levels increased in the control group, while LDL levels remained unchanged.

When the researchers looked at markers of inflammation, they found that the probiotic group was associated with significant reductions in both TNF-a and IL-6.

“In this study, we observed the reduction on levels of TNF-a and IL-6, cytokines that have been widely studied and related to obesity. Fat accumulation caused by obesity provokes increased production of these adipokines, which stimulate the generation of hepatic acute-phase proteins, leading to a pro-inflammatory condition associated with the development of obesity comorbidities as insulin resistance,” ​wrote the researchers.

“Although the relationships between microbiota, obesity, diabetes, and MetS are increasingly evident, there remain many mechanisms that need to be explored,”​ they concluded.

Source: Nutrition
Volume 32, Number 6, Pages 716-719, doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.11.001
“Beneficial effects of ​Bifidobacterium lactis on lipid profile and cytokines in patients with metabolic syndrome: A randomized trial. Effects of probiotics on metabolic syndrome”
Authors: L.J. Bernini et al. 

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