Synbiotic dietary supplement shows metabolic health benefits in overweight people: DuPont data

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / JONGHO SHIN
© Getty Images / JONGHO SHIN
A combination of DuPont’s Howaru Shape probiotic and Litesse Ultra prebiotic may beneficially alter the gut microbiota and improve gut barrier function, says a new study from DuPont Nutrition & Health.

Six months of supplementation with Bifidobacterium animalis​ subsp. lactis 420 (Howaru Shape) and Litesse Ultra (LU) polydextrose led to a greater abundance of the bacterial species Akkermansia muciniphila​, which is associated with improved metabolic health.

Data published in Beneficial Microbes​ also indicated that the combination led to improvements in waist-area body fat mass.

“In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in overweight and obese adults, we demonstrated that consumption of the probiotic B420 with or without a prebiotic LU resulted in alterations of the gut microbiota and metabolism,”​ wrote the researchers.

“The modification of the gut microbiota to a more favorable composition may contribute to improved gut barrier function and obesity-related markers. These results are promising for individuals struggling with metabolic disorders that may benefit from probiotic or synbiotic consumption.”

Building the body of science

The new study builds on earlier clinical trial data for the strain, which indicated that six months of supplementation with B. animalis ​ssp. lactis ​420 (B420) plus Litesse Ultra reduced total body fat mass by 4.5%, trunk fat by 6.7%, and waist circumference by one inch (2.6 cm), versus placebo.

Waist measurement © Getty Images monkeybusinessimages
© Getty Images / monkeybusinessimages

That earlier study, which was published in EBioMedicine​ (Vol. 13, pp. 190–200), included 225 overweight adults randomly assigned to one of four groups: Placebo, 10 billion CFUs of B. lactis​ B420 per day, 12 grams of Litesse Ultra per day, or a combination of the probiotic and the prebiotic for six months.

For the new paper, the DuPont researchers analyzed a subset of 134 participants of the earlier clinical study.

Results showed that Lactobacillus​ and Akkermansia​ were more abundant in the group receiving B420 only for six months, while the combination of B420 and LU led to increases in Akkermansia​, Christensenellaceae​ and Methanobrevibacter​. Levels of Paraprevotella​ were reduced.

“Our study further supports evidence that the family ​Christensenellaceae are associated with a lean phenotype, as we found its abundance to be negatively correlated to [waist to hip ratio] and energy intake at baseline, and waist-area body fat and cholesterol markers in LU+B420,” ​added the researchers. “We also found ​Christensenellaceae spp. to be highly responsive to the LU+B420 intervention.”

Changes to cellular processes and metabolism

Additional analysis using functional metagenome predictions revealed that the combination of B420 and LU altered some pathways related to cellular processes and metabolism. Specifically, several different bile acids were reduced in the combination group, compared to placebo.

“Previously published results from this study showed that consumption of B420 alone or in combination with Litesse Ultra controlled body fat mass gain and improved obesity-related markers in overweight and obese adults. New results from this study suggest that changes in the gut microbiota and its metabolism may be the link to the clinical benefits we have observed,”​ said Ashley Hibberd, senior scientist, DuPont Nutrition & Health and lead author on the new paper.

Potential to improve leaky gut

Going back to the increases in Akkermansia muciniphila​, the researchers noted other studies have recorded that obese individuals with metabolic dysfunction often have depleted levels of this bacterium. In addition, there is data to support a protective role for A. muciniphilai ​on the gut barrier function.

A reduction in the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract can result in a condition known as leaky gut, which is an undesirable situation in which toxic bacterial components such as LPS (lipopolysaccharides) can pass from the gut lumen into the blood.  

This leakage, which results in metabolic endotoxemia, is increasingly recognized as a driver of obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and other issues.

Commenting on the new study’s findings, Megan DeStefano, global marketing manager, Probiotics, DuPont Nutrition & Health, said: “The favorable change in gut microbiota is positive for overweight individuals struggling with metabolic disorders, such as leaky gut and type 2 diabetes. In particular, Akkermansia is associated with improved gut barrier function and glucose tolerance.

“We also have observed a reduction in circulating inflammatory markers which supports heart, kidney and respiratory health.”

Source: Beneficial Microbes
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3920/BM2018.0028
“Probiotic or synbiotic alters the gut microbiota and metabolism in a randomised controlled trial of weight management in overweight adults”
Authors: A.A. Hibberd et al.

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