Probiotic shows promising fat loss in pilot study

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images
A pilot study on a probiotic distributed by A&B Ingredients shows that it could have weight management potential, the company maintains.

The probiotic, dubbed PA5051 by the ingredient’s developer, was used in a placebo controlled pilot study published recently in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition​.

The study was conducted by the ingredient’s developer, Jhy Jhu Lin, chief scientist at Imagilin Technology, along with two collaborators.  Lin first isolated the probiotic organism, which is a proprietary strain of Pediococcus acidilactici​ (designated as NRRL B-50517), from switchgrass, a common grass species in pastures.

That led to the organism’s first use in animal feed to help feed conversion ratios.  But Lin has been investigating its applications in human nutrition, too.

Pilot study found promising results

The current pilot study enrolled 30 healthy subjects at a clinic in Maryland. The subjects ingested either 4 billion CFU of the probiotics or a placebo daily for three months, with compliance verified via phone calls.  The subjects also responded to a questionnaire on gut functions, to verify how the probiotic was tolerated.  

Blood serum was drawn and body fat measurements taken at the beginning and end of the study. The serum was analyzed for inflammatory markers.

Lin found that there was a small but measurable effect on body fat in the treatment group. They lost a small amount of fat over the course of the three month period, whereas the control group gained fat, though that amount was smaller that the amount of the other group lost.

The effects on inflammatory markers were more marked, Lin found. The treatment group showed lower levels of the pro-inflammatory IL-6 and IL23 ratios.  The former is a market generally associated with systemic inflammation, while the latter is more closely associated with the kind of inflammation linked to obesity, Lin said.

While the effects noted where not huge, they are promising enough to warrant further study, Lin said.

“When you take a probiotic you are not going to lose weight immediately like some magic pill. The short answer is that we do see a trend with the probiotic.  After you do some statistical analysis, the effect is small and the variation is big, but is something we are going to study further,” ​Lin told NutraIngredients-USA.

Fat loss numbers exciting for human nutrition

Gil Bakal, managing director of A&B Ingredients, said while the results on the inflammatory markers were larger, his company is particularly excited about the fat loss numbers. Lin is currently conducting a double blinded, placebo controlled fat loss trial with the probiotic, a study that includes a controlled diet facet (the pilot trial just asked participants to continue with their normal diets) 

“Based on our experience, when we start to talk about inflammatory markers, our audience falls asleep,”​ Bakal said.

“There are a lot of studies supporting this strain’s benefits for pets.  We are working with Dr Lin to bring these benefits to human nutrition,” ​he added.

Source: ​Current Developments in Nutrition
doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzz041.P21-026-19
Pediococcus Acidilactici NRRL B-50517 as a Safe Probiotic for Regulation of Weight-Related Pro-inflammatory Cytokines: A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Pilot Study (P21-026-19)
Authors: Lin JJ, O’Connell J, Sinclair S.

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