Probiotics reduce gut fat absorption

Introducing probiotic therapies to the diet might help treat obesity and diabetes.

Probiotics may be useful in weight loss, say UK researchers after finding the supplements influence fat absorption from the gut.

Studies in mice have shown that probiotics affect the way in which bile acids are metabolised, which in turn can change the amount of fat that the body is able to absorb.

The findings could lead to the development of new probiotic therapies designed to help treat gut abnormalities that have been linked to conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Until now, the mechanism by which probiotics influence metabolism has been unknown.

For this latest study, researchers studied levels of metabolites in the liver, blood, urine and faeces of mice that had been engineered with human gut microbes to model the conditions found inside a human gut.

Some of mice were fed a probiotic containing Lactobacillus paracasei daily for two weeks, while a second group were fed a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus. A third group served as controls and were given a saline drink.

The researchers found that the mice fed the probiotics had a higher gut content of bile acids, which are responsible for emulsifying fats in the upper gut, than control mice.

This was because the probiotic gut flora were unable to break down the bile acids.

In turn, this resulted in lower intestinal absorption of dietary lipids and a reduction of lipoprotein levels in plasma.

Lead researcher Professor Jeremy Nicholson, from the department of bimolecular medicine at Imperial College London, said that while some argue probiotics do not work, the study findings show probiotics can have a positive effect on metabolism.

'We are still trying to understand what the changes they bring about might mean, in terms of overall health, but we have established that introducing friendly bacteria can change the dynamics of the whole population of microbes in the gut.'

Dr Sunil Kochhar from the Nestle Research Centre in Switzerland added that the study results could lead to personalised nutrition.

Journal of Molecular Systems Biology Online 2008, live links at http://www.healthcarerepublic.com

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs place first orders from government flu jab reserve as £12m support fund rolled out

GPs place first orders from government flu jab reserve as £12m support fund rolled out

GP practices can start ordering flu vaccine from an 8m-dose government stockpile...

Quarter of government's 8m-dose flu stockpile is vaccine granted temporary approval

Quarter of government's 8m-dose flu stockpile is vaccine granted temporary approval

A vaccine yet to be licensed in the UK accounts for more than a quarter of the 8m...

GPs report drop in older patients coming forward with cancer symptoms

GPs report drop in older patients coming forward with cancer symptoms

More than half of GPs say numbers of older patients coming forward with cancer symptoms...

Failure to involve GPs in COVID-19 test and trace 'a disaster and a national shame'

Failure to involve GPs in COVID-19 test and trace 'a disaster and a national shame'

GPs and primary care teams should have played a key role in the UK’s efforts to test,...

RCGP chair 'livid' over attacks on general practice from 'armchair critics'

RCGP chair 'livid' over attacks on general practice from 'armchair critics'

General practice has risen 'heroically' to unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19...

Remote GP consultations a 'lifeline for the NHS' during pandemic, says Hancock

Remote GP consultations a 'lifeline for the NHS' during pandemic, says Hancock

The rapid switch to remote GP consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic provided...