- Obese children on a calorie-controlled diet may benefit by taking probiotic supplements
- Probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632 can result in weight loss in obese children and adolescents
- Probiotic supplementation reduced insulin resistance and E.coli in the gut of the obese children and adolescents
Obesity is a disease which involves an excessive amount of body fat. People who are obese are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening health diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other conditions.
Treatment and prevention of obesity is a serious public health challenge, especially in adolescents and children.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for the body, especially the digestive system.
Probiotics are known as good bacteria as they help keep the gut healthy.
Bifidobacteria are a part of probiotic bacteria that are naturally present in the gut microbiome.
They help with preventing infection from other bacteria like E.coli. They also play a role in the digestion of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
During digestion, these probiotic bacteria release chemicals known as short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids play a key role in gut health and controlling hunger.
Having a low number of Bifidobacteria, may impair digestion, affect food consumption and energy expenditure. Therefore, they lead to obesity and gain of body weight.
Previous studies have found that consumption of probiotics with Bifidobacteria can restore the composition of the gut and help in weight loss. They concluded that this approach could be used for obesity management.
The current research uses different strains of probiotics and does not focus on the effects of administering Bifidobacteria alone.
The researchers aimed to examine the impact of probiotic treatment in children and adolescents with obesity on a controlled diet, on weight loss and composition of gut microbiota.
The study consisted of 100 obese children and adolescents of the ages of 6-18.
These children were on a calorie-controlled diet, and they were randomly given either probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632, or a placebo for a period of 8 weeks.
The effect of probiotic supplementation on weight gain, gut microbiota and metabolism was analyzed by doing clinical, biochemical and stool sample analyses.
The researchers found that children who had consumed probiotics had a reduction in:
- Waist circumference
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Insulin resistance
- E.coli in the gut
"Probiotic supplements are frequently given to people without proper evidence data. These findings start to give evidence of the efficacy and safety of two probiotic strains in treating obesity in a younger population," says Dr. Prodam.
This study suggests that probiotic supplementation has the ability to modify the environment of the gut microbiome, and beneficially affects metabolism. It could be used to help obese children and adolescents to lose weight. However, larger studies are needed to investigate the potential of probiotics further.
"The next step for our research is to identify patients that could benefit from this probiotic treatment, with a view to creating a more personalized weight-loss strategy. We also want to decipher more clearly the role of diet and probiotics on microbiome composition. This could help us to understand how the microbiota is different in young people with obesity."
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