Obesity In Women Could Be Prevented With Certain Probiotics: Study
January 29, 2014

Obesity In Women Could Be Prevented With Certain Probiotics: Study

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Certain types of probiotics could help women combat obesity by restoring the balance of their intestinal microbiota in favor of bacteria that helps promote healthy weight, according to new research recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

While previous studies have demonstrated that obese men and women have a different intestinal flora than those of their fitter counterparts, the study authors set out to determine whether or not consuming probiotics could have a positive impact on those gut-based microorganisms, they explained in a statement Tuesday.

Dr. Angelo Tremblay, of Université Laval, and colleagues tested their hypothesis by recruiting 125 overweight individuals. Those individuals then took part in a 12-week weight-loss diet, followed by a 12-week period designed to maintain body weight.

Half of the study group were given two daily pills containing probiotics from the Lactobacillus rhamnosus family, while the other half received a placebo. Following the 12-week diet period, women who received probiotics lost more weight -- 9.7 lbs. on average -- than those who were given placebos -- 5.7 lbs.

However, no such effect was observed in men, according to Dr. Tremblay, who also serves as the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance. “We don't know why the probiotics didn't have any effect on men,” he said. “It may be a question of dosage, or the study period may have been too short.”

At the conclusion of the 12-week maintenance period, the weight of the women in the placebo group remained stable. However, those in the probiotic group continued to lose weight, raising the total to an average of 11.46 lbs. per person, the researchers said. All told, the women taking probiotics lost twice as much weight over the course of the study.

Dr. Tremblay’s team also observed a decrease in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin and a lower overall concentration in obesity-related intestinal bacteria in this group. They believe that the probiotics could be altering the permeability of the intestinal wall, preventing some types of proinflammatory molecules from reaching the bloodstream and ultimately helping to prevent glucose intolerance, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

While the L. rhamnosus strain involved in the study is used by yogurts made by Nestle in Europe, the investigators believe that probiotics found in North American dairy products could have a similar impact. However, they emphasize that the benefits of these microorganisms “are more likely to be observed in a favorable nutritional context that promotes low fat and adequate fiber intake,” the university explained.