Probiotics Linked to Weight Loss

Editor's Comment: CFU/d stands for Colony Forming Units per day. CFU is the number of viable bacteria that will grow on a petri dish. The amount used in this study,108, was quite low. Typically, the CFUs of commercially sold probiotics are in the billions. (CFUs can be found on the labels of commercial probiotics.) This study was significant, because it found that lower amounts of lactobacillus bacteria could reduce abdominal fat by 8.5%, but only if consumed constantly. There have been several studies over the past decade indicating that people who are obese have an aberration in gut flora that normalizes once they lose weight. This suggests a role for the microbiome in weight gain as well as in weight management.

Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial.

By Y. Kadooka et al.


Consumption of fermented milk (FM) containing a probiotic, Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055), previously showed a reduction in abdominal adiposity in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) using FM with 108 colony-forming units (cfu) of LG2055/g. However, whether the effectiveness is observed at lower concentrations, the recommended minimum or intermediate levels of probiotics (106 or 107cfu/g, respectively), remains to be examined. A multi-centre, double-blind, parallel-group RCT was conducted using 210 healthy Japanese adults with large visceral fat areas (80·2-187·8 cm2). They were balanced for their baseline characteristics and randomly assigned to three groups receiving FM containing 107, 106 or 0 (control) cfu LG2055/g of FM, and were asked to consume 200 g FM/d for 12 weeks. Abdominal visceral fat areas, which were determined by computed tomography, at week 12, changed from baseline by an average of – 8·5 % (95 % CI – 11·9, – 5·1; P< 0·01) in the 107 dose group, and by – 8·2 % (95 % CI – 10·8, – 5·7; P< 0·01) in the 106 dose group. Other measures including BMI, waist and hip circumferences, and body fat mass were also significantly decreased from baseline at week 12 in both groups; interestingly, the cessation of taking FM for 4 weeks attenuated these effects. In the control group, none of these parameters significantly decreased from baseline. These findings demonstrate that consumption of LG2055 at doses as low as the order of 108cfu/d exhibited a significant lowering effect on abdominal adiposity, and suggest that constant consumption might be needed to maintain the effect.

Source: Br J Nutr. 2013 Apr 25:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]. Kadooka Y, Sato M, Ogawa A, Miyoshi M, Uenishi H, Ogawa H, Ikuyama K, Kagoshima M, Tsuchida T. Milk Science Research Institute, Megmilk Snow Brand Company Limited, 1-1-2 Minamidai, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-1165, Japan.

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