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Probiotics again linked to fat and weight loss: RCT data

By Stephen DANIELLS , 30-Apr-2013

Probiotics again linked to fat and weight loss: RCT data

Daily supplements of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055) may help weight loss in people with obese tendencies, says a new study from Japan.

Twelve weeks of consuming a fermented milk product containing the Lactobacillus strain at a relatively low dose was associated with an 8.5% decrease in in abdominal fat area, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition .

Scientists led by Yukio Kadooka from the Megmilk Snow Brand Company Limited also report that the effects were diminished after supplementation ceased, indicating that “constant ingestion is necessary”.


With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.

A breakthrough paper published in Nature in December 2006 (Vol. 444, pp. 1022-1023, 1027-1031) reported 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, suggesting that obesity may have a microbial component.

Another study, published in Science Translational Medicine (Vol. 1, Issue 6, 6ra14), advanced this by successfully showing that the human gut microbiota can successfully be transferred to germ-free mice, and that this can then be passed on from mother to offspring.

The new study extends previous findings the same researchers, which showed LG2055 may reduce fat levels (adiposity) and fat cells in animals (British Journal of Nutrition, 2009, Vol. 101, pp. 716-724; 2008, Vol. 99, pp. 1013-7, and European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010, Vol. 64, pp. 636-643).

In addition, Snow Brand scientists have reported that LG2055 in fermented milk “has the ability to establish in the human gastrointestinal tract and alters the composition and metabolism of the intestinal microflora and physical characteristics of faeces”, (J. Appl. Microbiol. 2001, Vol. 90, pp. 343-352).

Study details

Led by Yukio Kadooka from the Megmilk Snow Brand Company Limited build on the earlier study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed that a dose of 100 million colony forming units (cfus) could reduce abdominal fat by 4.6% and subcutaneous fat by 3.3%.

For the new study, 210 healthy Japanese adults with large visceral fat areas were randomly assigned to one of three groups: The first two groups received fermented milk products providing LG2055 doses of 10 million and 1 million cfus for 12 weeks, and the third group received the same product with no LG2055.

Results indicated that abdominal visceral fat areas decreased by 8.5% and 8.2% in the 10 million and 1 million cfu groups, respectively, compared to baseline levels.

“The present study, however, did not present a significant reduction in abdominal subcutaneous fat area which was observed in our previous RCT, suggesting a possible diminution of effectiveness at lower doses than the previous study’s,” wrote the researchers.

“Other measures including BMI, waist and hip circumferences, and body fat mass were also significantly decreased from baseline,” they added.

“However, these measures decreased in magnitude by the time of the 4-week follow-up visit after completion of the 12-week consumption period, suggesting that constant ingestion is necessary.”

Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, FirstView Articles, doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001037
“Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial”
Authors: Y. Kadooka, M. Sato, A. Ogawa, M. Miyoshi, et al. 

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