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Probiotics Could Counter Obesity and Diabetes

Jul 19, 2013
Daily ingestion of the VSL#3 commercial probiotic product by mice led to an increase in GLP-1 levels which reduced appetite….

According to a new study done at the National Institute of Health, daily ingestion of the VSL#3 commercial probiotic product led to a incrased levels of butyrate which in turn, increased the release of an appetite suppressing hormone called GLP-1. As a result, this reduced consumption of food and improved glucose tolerance in mice.

Hariom Yadav, PhD, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, says, "The novel finding of this study is that VSL#3 flora can increase butyrate production in the gut. We are now developing single strains that can produce higher butyrate levels, and can be used for designing new functional foods or medical formulations for the obese and diabetics."


The VSL#3 product is produced by Sigma Tau pharmaceuticals and provides the highest amount of beneficial live bacteria of any other probiotic in the world. It contains a combination of eight different bacterial strains and is available in 4 different formulations that have up to 450 billion live bacteria.

The study divided lab mice into low and high fat diet groups that either consumed or did not consume probiotics for eight weeks. They found that the mice that consumed the VSL#3 probiotics had less fat deposition with smaller fat cell size, but more importantly, had lower blood glucose levels with improved glucose and insulin tolerance. Overall metabolic factors were also improved.

The authors said, "The possibility that dietary supplementation of probiotics can modify the gut flora and result in changes in levels of short chain fatty acids that promote the release of hormones like GLP1 will further stimulate research aimed at understanding the mechanism of action of other beneficial probiotics."

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, published online ahead of print. Doi. 10.1074/jbc.M113.452516 "Beneficial metabolic effects of a probiotic via butyrate induced GLP-1 secretion" Authors: H. Yadav, J-H Lee, J. Lloyd, P. Walter, S.G. Rane