Korean angelica-derived probiotic strain shown to be effective in reducing body fat – Kolmar-funded RCT

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Korean angelica-derived probiotic strain has been found to be effective in reducing body fat. ©Getty Images
Korean angelica-derived probiotic strain has been found to be effective in reducing body fat. ©Getty Images

Related tags Kolmar Korea Korea Probiotics Weight management

A plant-derived probiotic strain has been found to be effective in reducing body fat, and could potentially be a safer alternative for weight loss management compared to existing drugs, say Korean researchers.

Lactiplantibacillus plantarum​ (L. plantarum​) is a gram-positive lactic acid bacterium commonly found in fermented foods such as pickles and kimchi.

It is generally recognised to be safe and exhibits strong probiotic properties, with several strains commercialised as health-promoting supplements and functional foods.

L. plantarum​ SKO-001 is a strain isolated from Angelica gigas Nakai ​(Korean angelica), a perennial plant widely used as medicinal herb in China and Korea, which has been reported to reduce obesity by controlling the gut microbiome.

To evaluate the efficacy and safety of SKO-001 in decreasing body fat, a double-blind, randomised clinical trial funded by Kolmar BNH was conducted.

A total of 97 participants, aged 19 to 60 years and had BMI between 25 and 30 (overweight), completed the trial. They were randomly assigned to the SKO-001 or placebo groups.

The intervention group received capsules containing 2×1010 CFU of SKO-001 each, while the placebo group was given capsules with the same shape and texture. Both groups consumed one capsule per day for 12 weeks.

It was found that body fat percentage of the SKO-001 group decreased (change value = −0.19 ± 1.36%) after 12 weeks of intervention, whereas that of the placebo group increased (0.48 ± 1.23%). The difference between the groups was statistically significant (p = 0.016).

In addition, trunk body fat percentage, trunk body fat mass, and android fat percentage decreased in the SKO-001 group, but increased in the placebo group.

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Compared to the placebo group, body fat mass and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels significantly decreased, and adiponectin levels significantly increased in the SKO-001 group.

In the SKO-001 group, subcutaneous fat area (p = 0.003), total cholesterol (TC) levels (p = 0.003), and leptin levels (p = 0.014) were significantly lower compared to baseline values.

“The results showed that SKO-001 improved serum lipid levels by reducing LDL-C and TC levels, with trends similar to those found in previous experimental studies.

“While individual responses to probiotics may vary, and factors such as diet, lifestyle and gut microbiome composition may influence efficacy, this study provides clinical confirmation of SKO-001’s effectiveness in reducing body fat,” ​the researchers wrote.

They added that these findings may be useful to support how natural compounds can influence the gut environment and have a positive impact on weight loss.

Natural alternatives

Despite the rising global prevalence of obesity, there is a lack of effective treatment strategies, according to the researchers.

Although medications are presently used to address severe obesity and associated metabolic conditions, the side effects of these drugs have called for natural alternatives.

One of the emerging strategies is the intake of probiotics to alter the composition of the gut microbiome. To date, Lactobacillus​ and Bifidobacterium ​are the most well-studied probiotic strains for body fat loss and management of obesity-related diseases.

L. plantarum​ stands out for its ability to produce lactic acid through the fermentation of various sugars, such as arabinose, glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, and dextran. It is also said to suppress the growth of other species, and have excellent acid and bile resistance.

In the present study, majority of the participants were enrolled between November and February, the autumn and winter seasons in Korea.

“Research examining seasonal variations in food intake and metabolism has revealed that energy intake peaks and physical activity levels tend to drop in winter. Despite high resting metabolic rates during this season, weight gain still occurs due to fat accumulated in the trunk and arms.

“Given these previous findings, it is possible that both groups gained body fat in the winter months, but the intervention may have caused the SKO-001 group to gain less body fat than the placebo group,” ​the authors explained. 

One limitation of this study is its relatively short duration and single-centre design, as well as the lack of microbiome analysis.

“Furthermore, faecal testing cannot provide accurate information regarding changes in the gut microbiome. This limitation hinders our ability to discern the mechanisms by which these changes contribute to fat loss.

“Further studies are needed to validate the changes in intestinal microbes following SKO-001 consumption, and to elucidate the mechanism of action of SKO-001 on reducing body fat. We believe that the seasonal and age-specific endpoints will also show more significant results through a larger trial with a longer duration of three months and above.”


Source: Nutrients


“A 12-Week, Single-Centre, Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Design Clinical Trial for the Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum SKO-001 in Reducing Body Fat”

Authors: Seon Mi Shin, et al

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