The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one-third of U.S. adults are obese. This is not something to be proud of, especially since obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death. But it's not easy to lose weight, sometimes you just need a little help if diet and exercise aren't cutting it. Studies have been conducted on humans and rats to test the effects of Lactobacillus gasseri on weight loss. This is a species of bacteria that originates from the intestines. The results have shown promise! One study had 87 human participants ingest 200 grams of fermented milk per day for 12 weeks. In order to see the effects, two groups were created: a control group (44 individuals) and an active group (43 individuals). The only difference between the two group's milk was the active group had Lactobacillus gasseri in their fermented milk, while the control group did not. Many factors were measured such as weight, body mass index (BMI: a measure of body fat based on someone's height and weight) and waist circumference to track the changes. Blood pressure, pulse rate, blood and urine tests were also checked throughout the experiment to look for any adverse effects. Fortunately, there were no significant differences in these measurements so no person was harmed in the conduction of this experiment.
So what were the results? The control group gained an average of 0.3 kg while the active group lost 1.1 kg within 12 weeks. The control group did not have a change in waist circumference, but the active group had an average loss of 1.7 cm. Additionally, the control group had a BMI increase of 0.2% and the active group had a decrease of 0.5%. These results may not seem large, but it's important to note that their eating and exercise habits did not change during the 12 weeks. Also, I want to emphasize the importance of a supplement since the control group was still ingesting a fermented food that is said to help with weight loss, yet no significant changes were observed. If you want to see results, taking a supplement while maintaining a proper diet with exercise should create a greater difference. Multiple experiments have had similar outcomes. One of these experiments had an average loss of 1.1 kg while another one resulted in a significant reduction of "abdominal fat mass." A different study that had obese participants resulted in an average loss of 6 kg! How these factors were decreased is not fully understood, but it's thought that L. gasseri plays a role in energy metabolism (the production and expenditure of energy), the body's inflammatory state (swelling) and lipid (fat) digestion. That all sounds good to me!
Being overweight brings along many risk factors. For instance, the chances of developing type 2 diabetes are drastically increased. The Harvard Gazette explains how 30% of overweight people have type 2 diabetes and 80% of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight. That's a strong correlation. Naturally, people were curious about what happens to diabetic patients when L. gasseri was administered. Consequently, an experiment that gave this bacteria to rats with type 2 diabetes (yes, rats can have diabetes) was done and it actually showed a reduction in blood glucose (sugar) levels and diabetic symptoms! Isn't science awesome?! It will be exciting to see more experiments that have larger participant groups over a greater timespan so we can obtain greater results.
- Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences. (2015, June 16). Retrieved August 05, 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html
- Jung SP, Lee KM, Kang JH, Yun SI, Park HO, Moon Y, Kim JY. (2013, March). Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 on Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Korean J Fam Med. Retrieved August 05, 2016 from http://dx.doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.2013.34.2.80
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- Kang, J. (2013, January 30). Anti-Obesity Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 in High-Sucrose Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Retrieved August 05, 2016, from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0054617
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- Powell, A. (2012, March 7). Obesity? Diabetes? We've been set up. Retrieved August 05, 2016, from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the..
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