Probiotics and obesity: Consumption of Yakult’s Shirota strain aids weight loss in children

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Yakult's Shirota strain aids weight loss in children.
Yakult's Shirota strain aids weight loss in children.

Related tags: Obesity, Nutrition

Yakult’s probiotic strain Shirota (LcS) aids weight loss while also improving lipid metabolism in obese children, according to a new pilot study.

Researchers led by Satoru Nagata from Tokyo Women’s Medical University said there were few studies regarding the role of probiotics as a dietary intervention in managing childhood obesity.

Therefore, an open prospective examination was conducted to clarify the effects of Lactobacillus casei​ strain Shirota (LcS)-containing beverages in obese children.

They compared the intestinal microbiota and organic acid levels between 12 obese children (aged 10.8 years on average) and 22 control children (aged 8.5 years on average), pre- and post-intervention.

The obese group underwent diet and exercise therapy for six months and was then given an LcS beverage daily for another six months. Body weight and serological markers were monitored.

Significant reductions in the faecal concentrations of Bifidobacterium​, the Bacteroides fragilis​ group, Atopobium​ cluster, Lactobacillus gasseri​ and acetic acid were observed in the obese group at baseline.

But after six months' consumption of the probiotic drink, the obese group displayed significant weight loss, and changes in bacterial faecal composition.

Promising approach

“A significant decline in body weight (-2.9±4.6%; p<0.05) and an elevation in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level were observed six months after ingestion of the LcS beverage compared to baseline,”​ wrote the researchers.

“Furthermore, a significant increase in the faecal concentration of Bifidobacterium and an apparent increase in the acetic acid concentration were also noted.”

The researchers acknowledged the limitations of a small sample size, and the fact that the obese group received more diet therapy and exercise than the controls.

That said, they believe drinking LcS fermented milk provides a promising approach to reducing obesity.

The paper concluded: “LcS contributed to weight loss while also improving the lipid metabolism in obese children via a significant increase in the faecal Bifidobacterium numbers and the acetic acid concentration.”

The authors declared no conflicts of interest but thanked Yakult's researchers for assisting with the microbiota analyses.

Source: Beneficial Microbes

doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0170

"The effects of the Lactobacillus casei strain on obesity in children: a pilot study."

Author: S Nagata, et al.

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