Along with herbs and seaweed, it now seems that probiotics too have entered in the fight against obesity. Experts from the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), Cork, University College Cork and Teagasc, in Ireland have specially designed probiotics that can restrict conditions such as obesity. It was suggested that probiotics can boost human health.
During the research, investigators engineered a strain of Lactobacillus to produce a version of a molecule termed as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The bacterial strain was then fed to mice and the composition of the mice’s fat tissue was probably modified. It can therefore be presumed that ingestion of live bacteria can influence metabolism at remote sites in the body. It is known that CLA is a fatty acid that develops in various versions by different bacteria. One of these versions called t10, c12 CLA is supposedly correlated with reduced decreased body fat in humans and other animals.
Scientists believe that t10, c12 CLA avoids the growth of colon cancer cells and paves way for their death. This type of CLA may only be produced by certain types of bacteria namely Propionibacterium acnes. As the name suggests Propionibacterium acnes are skin bacterium triggering acne. At the time of the research, an enzyme-encoding gene from P. acnes was transferred to the Lactobacillus strain allowing it to produce t10, c12 CLA. The common inhabitants of the normal gut flora usually noted in probiotic products are lactobacillus strains. The level of t10, c12 CLA in the mice’s fat tissue probably quadrupled when they were fed this recombinant probiotic.
Dr. Catherine Stanton, from Teagasc, lead researcher, quoted, “CLA has already been shown to alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that often accompanies obesity. Therefore, increasing levels of CLA in the liver by ingestion of a probiotic strain is of therapeutic relevance. Furthermore, fat is not an inert layer around our bodies, it is active and proinflammatory and is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancers. The work shows that there is potential to influence this through diet-microbe-host interactions in the gut.”
It was concluded that gut microbes possibly have an impact on host metabolism, and in particular fat composition. Researchers also observed that microbially produced CLA was capable of decreasing colon cancer cells by 92 percent. A CLA-producing probiotic seems to keep a tab on colon cancer cells. Metabolism of gut bacteria can allegedly modulate host cell activity in ways that are beneficial to the host. Additional investigations can be undertaken to analyze the effects of CLA-producing bacteria on human metabolism.
The research was published in Microbiology.