“This is the first study to translate findings from studies of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis 420 done in animal models in which it was shown the probiotic can improve metabolic health in mice by strengthening gut barrier function,” said Lotta Stenman, PhD, lead investigator on the preclinical and clinical trials with DuPont Nutrition & Health.
The animal study Dr Stenman mentioned, funded by DuPont, was published in Benefical Microbes in 2014 and looked at obese and diabetic mice. The present study, also funded by DuPont and published in EBioMedicine, analysed a population of 224 healthy adults.
Probiotics, prebiotics, placebo: Study design
A double-blind, randomized, parallel, and placebo-controlled model was used in the study, conducted in four clinical research centers in southern Finland.
Eligible participants were 18-65 years old with a body mass index (BMI) between 28 and 34.9 mg/m2 . Participants were excluded if they had diabetes or cardiovascular disease, or used other fiber supplements or probiotics in the previous six weeks.
Participants were divided into four groups: Placebo (microcrystalline cellulose 12g/day); the prebiotic fiber Litesse Ultra polydextrose at 12 g/day; DuPont’s proprietary strain of probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis 420 at a dose of 10 billion CFU per day in microcrystalline cellulose at 12 g/day; or the combination of the prebiotic fiber and the probiotic strain.
Proboitic group lost weight, synbiotic group gained lean mass
Both the probiotic and synbiotic products (a combination of the prebiotic with probiotic) were associated with significant reductions in body fat mass after 6 months, leading to an approximately 1.4 kg difference compared to placebo, the researchers found.
Participants who consumed the combination of probiotics and prebiotics had improvements in lean body mass. “The results of this study showed that changes in circulating zonulin levels correlated with changes in trunk fat mass, but only in the LU + B420 group, indicating a potential mechanistic relationship between zonulin and trunk fat mass,” the report said. Zonulin is a protein that regulates the permeability of the intestine by modulating the tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract.
“The potential influence of the gut microbiota on the regulation of body weight and shape is an exciting area right now,” said Megan DeStefano, Probiotics global marketing lead at DuPont Nutrition & Health. “Around the world, consumers are seeking natural support for weight management—we believe this product will give our customers a great market opportunity.”
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.10.036
"Probiotic With or Without Fiber Controls Body Fat Mass, Associated With Serum Zonulin, in Overweight and Obese Adults—Randomized Controlled Trial"
Authors: K. Lotta et al.