DSM i-Health partners with Slimbiotics for metabolic health probiotics

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© koto_feja / Getty Images
© koto_feja / Getty Images

Related tags Weight management metabolic health Probiotics

Austrian start-up Slimbiotics is partnering with DSM i-Health to distribute its metabolic health probiotics in the North American and Chinese markets.

The SlimBiotics formulation, derived from the spontaneously fermented pearl millet dough called Kimere that is commonly consumed by the Mbeere community in Kenya, will be commercialized under the Culturelle and Estroven brands.

"Metabolic health remains a key health concern across the globe, a top concern for our consumers and an important area for continued innovation," said an i-Health spokesperson. "As a company committed to serving overlooked and unspoken health needs, we are excited to partner with Slimbiotics GmbH to offer trustworthy, clinically proven and safe probiotic solutions to support metabolic health and weight management."


Slimbiotics GmbH was founded in 2019 by Austrian entrepreneurs Helmut Essl and Alexander Schütz to develop plant-derived, clinically-backed biotics and make them available to consumers looking to maintain a healthy weight and overall metabolic wellbeing. Essl previously founded HSO Health Care GmbH, which marketed the branded probiotic solution Astarte​ for women's urogenital health, which was acquired by Chr. Hansen in 2020​.

For Slimbiotics, the discovery of the strains began with a group of medical researchers, including a Kenyan-born PhD student, who were studying native African food sources that could improve the constellation of symptoms related to metabolic health, such as impaired glucose metabolism and insulin resistance.

This research led the team to Kimere and the isolation and characterization of its most-promising probiotic strains for anti-inflammatory and gut barrier enhancing properties to increase microbial diversity and potentially help reduce weight-associated risks from changing metabolic conditions.  L. fermentum​ K7-Lb1, L. fermentum​ K8-Lb1 and L. fermentum​ K11-Lb3. 

Scientific substantiation

Initial results from the first clinical study of the product were published last summer in the journal Nutrients​. Scientists from Kiel Center of Innovation and Technology and Johannes-Gutenberg University in Germany reported that three months of supplementation with the three-strain combination led to significant reductions in body fat mass, body weight, waist circumference, BMI and other markets of metabolic health, compared to placebo. 

“The number of significant results exceeded those expected from meta-analyses of previous studies involving probiotics targeting weight management and metabolic health outcomes,” the researchers wrote.

"We are excited about the market potential for our product, and our research efforts are ongoing," Juan Victor Wang Xu, CEO of Slimbiotics, told NutraIngredients-USA. "Additional clinical trials are in progress, and we will soon have further outcomes to share."

Link between gut microbiota and weight management

A link between the gut microbiota and obesity was first reported in 2006 by Jeffrey Gordon and his group at Washington University in St. Louis, who found that microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people and that when the obese people lost weight, their microflora reverted back to that observed in a lean person. This suggested that obesity has a microbial component (Nature, Vol. 444, pp. 1022-1023, 1027-1031​).

A 2013 paper in Science​ (Vol. 341, Issue 6150), also led by Prof Gordon, found that transplanting gut bacteria from obese humans into germ-free mice leads to greater weight gain and fat accumulation than mice that were given bacteria from the guts of lean humans.  

The findings showed that weight and fat gain is influenced by communities of microbes in the gut and their effect on the physical and metabolic traits of the host, leading to metabolic changes in the rodents that are associated with obesity in humans.

This has led many research groups to explore the potential of probiotics to help manage weight. A probiotic is defined as a "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host" (FAO/WHO).

* Source: Nutrients
2023, 15(13), 3039; doi: 10.3390/nu15133039
“Effect of a Probiotic and a Synbiotic on Body Fat Mass, Body Weight and Traits of Metabolic Syndrome in Individuals with Abdominal Overweight: A Human, Double-Blind, Randomised, Controlled Clinical Study”
Authors: C. Laue et al.       

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