Long-term management of obesity has had a high failure rate so far, necessitating the improvement of existing treatments.
Previous studies have found the gut microbiome to be helpful in lowering obesity risk and related metabolic complications, and have also shown a link between gut microbiome dysbiosis and obesity.
In addition, gut microbiome changes have been reported to be associated with host metabolism factors, including the regulation of appetite-related gut hormones, and the progress of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Manipulating the microbiome
Based on this, a study led by the National Taiwan University sought to determine if combining intervention using a probiotic, Lactobacillus mali APS1 (isolated from sugary kefir grain) with dieting could improve the efficacy of an obesity treatment, compared to dieting alone.
They put mice on a high-fat diet for six weeks, then treated them with either saline and a normal diet, or APS1 and a normal diet for three weeks.
They subsequently reported that the APS1-diet combination accelerated weight loss and lowered caloric intake and fat accumulation in the mice. In addition, their faecal microbiome showed that the treatment-induced weight loss led to the restoration of intestinal microbiota to its pre-obesity state.
APS1 had also manipulated the gut microbiome's obesity-related metabolites, regulated lipid metabolism, enhanced energy expenditure, and restricted appetite in the mice.
Therapeutic and predictive use
The researchers further wrote that certain bacteria were either positively or negatively associated with specific APS1-mediated metabolites, a detail that correlated with earlier observations on the negative association between serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels and a particular bacterium in obese post-menopausal women.
They stated: "Based on our results, we propose that the association between specific gut microbiota and metabolites might be used for the prediction of metabolic disease."
In conclusion, they wrote: "Our results highlighted a possible microbiome and metabolome that contributed to accelerating weight loss, following treatment with a combination of APS1 and dieting, and suggested that probiotics could serve as a potential therapy for modulating (the) physiological function and downstream of the microbiota.
"Future studies are warranted that examine the potential clinical use of APS1 as a novel therapeutic in the quest for effective long-term weight management solutions."
Source: Scientific Reports
"A combination of Lactobacillus mali APS1 and dieting improved the efficacy of obesity treatment via manipulating gut microbiome in mice"
Authors: Yung-Tsung Chen, et al.