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Obesity Research Spotlight: Dietary intervention alone vs. dietary intervention combined with probiotics

from Naima Moustaid-Moussa, PhD, FTOS

In this well-designed, randomized and double-blind clinical trial, "The additional effects of a probiotic mix on abdominal adiposity and antioxidant status: A double-blind, randomized trial" by Aline Corado Gomes et al., the authors compared effects of a dietary intervention alone (placebo packet given to 21 subjects) vs. a dietary intervention coupled with supplementation of probiotics (packets containing a mix of three Lactobacillus and two Bifidobacterium strains given to 22 subjects). The dietary intervention consisted of a normocaloric diet, with healthy eating recommendations and no changes in participants’ physical activity. Both interventions lasted 8 weeks with measurements of body composition, lipids, inflammation and antioxidant status at the start and end of the trial.

Although the intervention time was short (2 months), the probiotic supplementation resulted in beneficial effects on body composition (reduced abdominal fat) and antioxidant status (increased antioxidant enzymes) with no changes in inflammation status compared to the dietary intervention alone.

Since probiotics are known to affect metabolic through gut microbes, it is possible that the effects of the probiotic mix are mediated by gut bacteria, and this was one limitation of this study. Further, it is not known if these effects can be reproduced in different ethnic groups and populations. However, there are several advantages to this study: it was a short-term intervention, non-invasive and easy to follow, resulting in good compliance.

In conclusion, probiotic supplementation may reduce metabolic diseases associated with obesity in part by reducing abdominal fat and improving antioxidant status. Whether these effects are mediated by changes in gut bacteria and are consistent in different populations warrants further investigations. Read the full article online here. more

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