|The mere fact that probiotics can ameliorate some of the damage that's done by the way people eat this day, does not imply that they are the origin of the obesity epidemic; and the study at hand shows: They are not the solution either.|
Cause or solution!? I don't care if it works!
Based on previous observations the researchers speculated that the provision of 10,000,000,000 CFU/day Lactobacilli Casei Zhang bacteria to male Sprague Dawley rats who were guzzling "rodent coke", i.e. 25 % fructose water, 24/7 for either
- 9 weeks after the supplementation was initiated, or
- 4 weeks after 9 weeks on fructose water
So, what did the scientists find?
While it appears to be self-evident, the first trivial, yet extremely important result of the study at hand is the observation that the bacteria did not just make it to the gut of the rodents, but actually settled and survived there. This lead to a significant increased numbers of Lactobacillus and Biﬁdobacterium (what we currently think are the "good guys") and a concomitant decrease in the number Clostridium bacteria in the intestine.
|Figure 1: Liver gylcogen, serum insulin, osteocalcin, and MDA levels expressed relative to rodents on control diet after 9 and 13 weeks on different diet + supplementation regimen (Zhang. 2013)|
The improved response to the glucose tolerance test, on the other hand was observed in both the pre-treated group, in which the rodents received fructose and probiotic bacteria together for 9 weeks, and the "therapeutic" group, in which the probiotics were gavaged to already obese rodents for only four weeks.
|Figure 2: Glucose response (AUC) in tolerance test and body weight development (Zhang. 2013)|
Bottom line: In conjunction with the decreased serum MDA and the upregulation of LXR-a, PPAR-gamme and AdipoR2 gene expression the overall picture that emerges is somewhat similar to that you would see with some of the "better" diabetic drugs. Yet while this may sound great, at first, it is in the end a total bummer.
Aside from the people whose businesses flourish, when people are sick enough to need medication, but not so sick that they would die away anytime soon, "solutions" like these don't help anyone. And let's face it - we all know that the root cause of the problem is not a messed up gut microbiome. That may be a consequence, yes. The root cause, on the other hand, is the way millions of people "eat".
- Zhang Y, Wang L, Zhang J, Li Y, He Q, Li H, Guo X, Guo J, Zhang H. Probiotic Lactobacillus casei Zhang ameliorates high-fructose-induced impaired glucose tolerance in hyperinsulinemia rats. Eur J Nutr. 2013 Jun 25.