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Probiotics May Help You Avoid Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

According to a recent study conducted by Danisco, probiotics may counteract the negative effects of a high-fat diet and reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The study has not yet been published but the findings were presented the week of April19th, 2010 at the Keystone Symposium on Diabetes in Canada.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by central obesity, hypertension and disturbed insulin and glucose metabolism. People suffering from metabolic syndrome are at a much higher risk for, heart disease, and suffering a heart attack.

The American Heart Association defines metabolic syndrome as having three or more of the following:

1. A waistline greater than 40” for men or 35” for women

2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women

3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL

4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine

5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein

6. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance

For this study, researchers gave diabetic mice on high fat diets a strain of probiotic called B420. After the mice were given the strain, the researchers observed lower levels of inflammation. The mice also metabolized glucose more effectively which reduces the risk of obesity.

Although further studies are expected to confirm this association, probiotics have previously been shown to provide a host of health benefits, especially for people over 60 because levels of friendly bacteria in our gut tend to decrease as we age.

Some of these benefits include reducing the risk of chronic disease, improving digestion and boosting immune system function.

One way to increase probiotic levels is by consuming more yogurt and cultured milk products. You can also try incorporating a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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