Bifido probiotic strain may help with slimming for overweight people: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© pepifoto / Getty Images
© pepifoto / Getty Images

Related tags bifidobacterium breve Probiotic Probiotics Weight management

Three months of supplementation with a specific probiotic strain may reduce body fat levels, and improve body weight and BMI compared to placebo, says a new study from Korea.

Supplementation with Bifidobacterium breve​ B-3 also reduced waist circumference and hip circumference in the overweight study participants, according to findings published in Nutrients​.

“Collectively, these findings indicate that BB-3 can safely and effectively reduce not only body fat but also body weight, waist circumference, and hip circumference,” ​wrote scientists from Semyung University, RnBS Corp., and Daehan Chemtech Co., Ltd.

Gut microbiota and obesity

The 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 if probiotics may 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.

For our recent summary of the state of the science and market around probiotics for weight management, please click HERE​.

The new study focused on the BB-3 strain, which has been developed by Morinaga and is already supported by other weight management studies.

Study details

The Korean researchers recruited 100 overweight people to participate in their double-blind, randomized clinical trial. The volunteers were randomly assigned to either placebo or Bifidobacterium breve​ B-3 (5 billion CFUs per day) for 12 weeks.

Data from the 83 people who completed the study indicated that body fat was significantly lower after BB-3 supplementation, compared to placebo, while improvements in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and hip circumference were also reported for the probiotic group.

On the other hand, there were no significant differences between the groups for other measures, including body fat percentage (%) and fat-free mass (g), or blood lipid levels, said the researchers.

“Future research should be conducted on the effects of BB-3 on the intestinal environment, its mechanisms, and the effects of hormone changes involved in human metabolism,” ​they stated. Source: Nutrients
2023, 15​(1), 28; doi: 10.3390/nu15010028
“Body Fat Reduction Effect of ​Bifidobacterium breve B-3: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Comparative Clinical Trial”
Authors: H.K. Sung et al.


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