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New Research on Probiotics Shows Promise for Fighting Obesity

According to a new study published by George Mason University  researchers Dr. Robin Couch and Dr. Allyson Dailey, in collaboration with researchers at the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), showed probiotics may play a pivotal role in preventive  medicine.

High fat diets are a leading cause of obesity and can trigger the onset of metabolic syndrome.  The research team found that probiotic intervention has significant potential for addressing  obesity-related diseases.

The study examined the impact of a high fat diet in pigs. Organ tissue samples revealed that  probiotic supplementation countered many of the adverse consequences of a high fat diet  based on metabolite levels.

“Not only did we discover that the kidneys and brain are extremely sensitive to diets higher in  fat, but we also observed that probiotic supplementation reverted metabolite levels of pigs fed a  high fat diet to levels seen in pigs given a nutritionally balanced diet,” said Dr. Dailey.

Dr. Couch and Dr. Dailey worked with USDA researchers Dr. Gloria Solano-Aguilar, DVM, and  Dr. Joseph F. Urban on the study, which was published by Metabolites in February.

While only one probiotic strain was tested, Lacticaseibacillus paracasei (Chr. Hansen,  Denmark), the research team intends to explore the effects of other strains in the future.

“We’d like to see if certain probiotic strains are more advantageous for inducing changes in host  metabolic responses after consumption of high fat diet,” said Dr. Couch.

“Although more research is required before probiotic supplementation can be recommended as  part of one’s everyday routine, this study shows the effect it has on organ metabolite  composition,” said Dr. Couch. “The metabolome influence on the body is a blossoming field of study, and our results are further evidence that probiotics could contribute to normalize affected  metabolites, especially for those affected after consumption of a higher fat diet.”

Traditionally, probiotic research involves inspecting the gastrointestinal tract composition, such  as analyzing fecal microbiome composition or looking for inflammatory markers in blood  samples. By using organ tissue samples, researchers can directly measure the impact of  probiotics on metabolites in the body.

“This study shows that tissue derived metabolites can be modulated by dietary interventions.  However, additional research is needed to see if changes in these markers found in organs after

feeding probiotics could be followed in human samples of serum, urine or saliva,” said Dr.  Solano-Aguilar.

For more information, contact John Hollis at 571-396-1578 or jhollis2@gmu.edu

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