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Probiotics affect metabolism, says new study
Date:1/15/2008

Probiotics, such as yoghurt drinks containing live bacteria, have a tangible effect on the metabolism, according to the results of a new study published today (Tuesday 15 January) in the journal Molecular Systems Biology.

The research is the first to look in detail at how probiotics change the biochemistry of bugs known as gut microbes, which live in the gut and which play an important part in a persons metabolic makeup. Different people have different types of gut microbes inside them and abnormalities in some types have recently been linked to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London and Nestl Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, gave two different types of probiotic drink to mice that had been transplanted with human gut microbes. Probiotics contain so-called friendly bacteria and there is some evidence to suggest that adding friendly bacteria to the gut can help the digestive system.

The researchers compared the levels of different metabolites in the liver, blood, urine, and faeces, of mice who had received treatment with probiotics and those that had not.

They found that treatment with probiotics had a whole range of biochemical effects and that these effects differed markedly between the two probiotic strains, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Adding friendly bacteria changed the makeup of the bugs in the gut, not only because this increased the number of such bacteria, but also because the friendly bacteria worked with other bacteria in the gut, amplifying their effects.

One of the many biochemical changes observed by the researchers was a change in how mice treated with probiotics metabolised bile acids. These acids are made by the liver and their primary function is to emulsify fats in the upper gut. If probiotics can influence the way in which bile acids are metabolised, this means they could change how much fat the body is able
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Contact: Laura Gallagher
L.Gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46702
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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