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Probiotics May Combat Weight Gain and Diabetes: Animal Study

Both obesity and diabetes are associated with consuming more calories that your body can burn. With both of these conditions on the rise across the world, researchers are racing to find ways to treatments. Recently, an animal study has been released suggesting that taking a probiotic supplement may defend against weight gain and insulin resistance.

Over the course of eight weeks, the researchers fed lab mice either a low or high-fat diet with or without probiotics. The probiotic supplement consisted of eight different strains of probiotics: Bifidobacterium breve, B. longum, B. infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. paracasei, L. bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles.

At the conclusion of the study, they noted that the high-fat diet mice that were also given probiotics had the same level of suppressed weight gain as the low-fat diet mice without probiotics.

The researchers believe that this lower level of weight gain was due to the metabolic effects of the supplement resulting in less food intake by the probiotic group.

The high-fat, probiotic group also had smaller fat cell size, lower blood glucose levels, less fat deposition in their cells, improved glucose, and improved insulin tolerance when compared with the high-fat, no-probiotic mice.

Additionally, the probiotic mice showed lower levels of inflammatory markers that are usually associated with obesity and insulin resistance, when compared with the no-probiotic mice.

When the researchers looked even closer, they found that the probiotic group had higher levels of butyrates, which are short-chain fatty acids that “feed” on prebiotics. Butyrates are essential because they act as “food” for cells lining the inside of the colon.

They also produce GLP-1, which is gut hormone essential for regulating glucose. The researchers noted an increase in GLP-1 that was directly correlated with the increase in butyrates.

Researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 8, 2013, in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, but they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including weight loss, a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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