Probiotics may also be good for the waistline
Not only are probiotics healthy for the gut, they may also be good for the waistline. A recent study shows that supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 (Ba8145) improves anthropometric adiposity measures such as waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and visceral fat area in abdominally obese individuals, particularly in women.
“Our results support Ba8145 probiotic as a complementary strategy in obesity management,” said the researchers.
The double-blind, parallel-group trial randomized 135 participants who were abdominally obese (waist circumference ≥102 cm) in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive one capsule daily containing 1010 CFU of either Ba8145 (live strain), heat-killed Ba8145 (h-k Ba8145), or placebo (maltodextrin) for 3 months. [Int J Obes (Lond) 2018;doi:10.1038/s41366-018-0220-0]
Both live and heat-killed forms of Ba8145 led to decreased waist circumference, waist circumference/height ratio, visceral fat area, and Conicity index (all p<0.05) compared with baseline.
Improvements in these anthropometric adiposity measures were significantly different with the heat-killed Ba8145, but not with the live strain Ba8145, in comparison with the placebo group.
Regardless of whether the Ba8145 strains were live or heat-killed, there was a significant decrease in BMI from baseline as well as when compared with the placebo group (p<0.05).
“Ba8145 treatment decreased the BMI by -0.349 kg/m2. This reduction was similar to those obtained after 3 months of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (-0.5 kg/m2) or L. plantarum TENSIA (-0.4 kg/m2) after 3 weeks,” said the researchers. [Eur J Clin Nutr 2010;64:636-643; Nutr J 2013;12:138]
In particular, the difference between Ba8145 treatment and placebo was significant in women, but not in men when the analyses were stratified by gender.
Other measures such as diastolic blood pressure and HOMA* index also decreased from baseline in participants who took heat-killed Ba8145 (p<0.05).
Analyses of the gut microbiota samples revealed that Akkermansia spp. Increased after Ba8145 treatment, especially the live strain, which was inversely related to weight (p=0.003). According to the authors, the maximum increase was observed in Akkermansia spp. after the intake of the live-form Ba8145, consistent with the occurrence of the maximum decrease in BMI.
“An increase in the gut Akkermansia genus appears as a possible mechanism involved [in mediating the effects of Ba8145 on anthropometric adiposity],” the researchers suggested.
“Probiotics are recognized functional foods with protective effects against obesity and related cardiometabolic conditions,” they said. [Obes Rev 2018;19:219-232]
Nonetheless, the researchers acknowledged that they were unable to determine the potential interactions between Ba8145 supplementation and other dietary components, which may limit the findings.