Evonik’s synbiotic enhances omega-3 health benefits: Study

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

© LaylaBird / GettyImages
© LaylaBird / GettyImages

Related tags omega 3 EPA and DHA Fish oil supplements specialized pro-resolving mediators Dsm Evonik

Evonik’s In Vivo Biotics Resolvin Beyond Omega synbiotic could improve the health benefits of omega-3 in people with inflammatory conditions, new research shows.

The researchers from Germany compared the efficacy of a synbiotic comprising DSM-Firmenich’s bacterial strain Bacillus megaterium ​DSM 32963 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n​-3 PUFA) from AvailOm to a placebo or fish oil with a similar n​-3 PUFA content in 72 healthy participants over 28 days. 

Their findings, published in the journal Nutrients,​ showed the synbiotic increased circulating specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) precursor levels, which is important for the regulation of immune responses, to a further extent than fish oil.

“This study opens a new perspective in the practice of omega-3 supplementation, as it shows that a unique synbiotic omega-3 formula is superior to standard omega-3 supplementation in terms of providing the host with pro-resolving lipid mediators (LM),” Bodo Speckmann, innovation manager at Evonik, told NutraIngredients.

Synbiotic strategy 

Responses to n​-3 PUFA supplementation can vary widely among individuals​. It is metabolized by several endogenous enzymes into bioactive LMs, a prominent group of which are SPMs, which promote inflammation resolution​.

SPMs are crucial for receiving the health benefits of n-3 PUFA, but their production can be compromised in certain health conditions​, which can contribute to persistent inflammation.

Increasing the concentration of SPMs in the body has been investigated as a strategy to overcome this issue through enriched fish oil preparations, however even at a very high dose results showed​ only a short-term increase in plasma SPM concentrations.

The German researchers therefore developed a synbiotic strategy based on a microbial conversion of n​-3 PUFA to SPMs by probiotic bacteria of the genus Bacillus megaterium. ​It has been found to convert omega-3 fatty acids into anti-inflammatory lipids, and one in vitro​ study found that it, in combination with PUFA salt, enabled the production of SPMs​.

In Vivo Biotics Resolvin Beyond Omega 

Participants received either the synbiotic (250 mg EPA, DHA, lysine salts, and two billion CFU Bacillus megaterium)​, placebo or fish oil (300 mg EPA plus DHA) capsules daily for four weeks, and biomarkers were assessed at baseline and after two and 28 days of intervention. 

Primary analysis involved the comparison between the synbiotic and placebo as well as the synbiotic compared to fish oil.

Results showed that the synbiotic significantly increased circulating SPM precursor levels, including 18-hydroxy-eicosapentaenoic acid (18-HEPE) plus 5-HEPE, which was not achieved to the same extent by fish oil.

As Speckmann explained, both components of the synbiotic synergized in the gastrointestinal tract to produce SPM and precursors, which are thereafter absorbed by the body.

Bacillus megaterium​ DSM 32963, which carries a unique CYP enzyme, produces these SPM and precursors using n-3 PUFA free fatty acid salts as a substrate; these reactions occur independent from the resident gut microbiota and independent from host metabolism,” he noted.

The authors concluded the findings strengthen the idea that a disturbed or limited metabolic capacity of the body to produce pro-resolving LM with health-beneficial properties from n​-3 PUFA can be compensated by suitable synbiotics.

They explained that the outcomes suggest that n​-3 PUFA supplementation, especially in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions, could be significantly improved through the synbiotic approach.

The synbiotic could translate to using smaller doses of n​-3 PUFA than typical, they added, potentially avoiding possible side effects from supranutritional intake levels, increasing convenience and  patient compliance.

Speckmann added that "the conversion is independent from human metabolism, and we therefore suspect that our formula will deliver pro-resolving LM also in people with limited metabolic capacity to produce them by themselves, e.g. people with metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases."

“Overall, we are intrigued by our findings so far and look forward to the outcomes of our ongoing studies, as they may lead to better omega-3 intervention strategies to support the lives of healthy as well as diseased people,” he stated.

Further study will provide additional and crucial insights into its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic SPM profile and possible therapeutic use.

Journal: Nutrients
doi: 10.3390/nu16091354​ 
“Synbiotic Bacillus megaterium​ DSM 32963 and n-3 PUFA Salt Composition Elevates Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediator Levels in Healthy Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Study.”
Authors: Speckmann, B. Et al.

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