Advances in probiotics research for healthcare

Advances in probiotics research for healthcare

Clinical trials by researchers at Nitto Pharma, Kyoto, using fatty acid (HYA) derived from probiotic bacteria show potential health benefits in treating metabolic disorders. Their findings were due to be presented at the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) Meeting, in Minnesota, USA, in May.
Metabolic syndrome is a set of conditions including obesity and hypertension that could potentially lead to heart disease and diabetes. Reported cases of metabolic syndrome worldwide are rising due to changes in diets, insufficient physical exercise, and work related stress induced.
Research on metabolic syndrome often focusses on postprandial hyperglycemia, the state of high blood sugar in the body after eating a meal, that has harmful effects on the body, including blocking blood vessels and increasing risks of heart attack. These cumulative risks are referred to as ‘hidden diabetes’ and there are increasing demands for new approaches to both prevent and treat hyperglycemia as concerns grow about metabolic syndrome in public health.
Lactic acid bacteria are referred to as ‘probiotics’ because the products of their metabolism in the human digestive system have potential health benefits for treating human aliments. Notably, such probiotic bacteria are found in food such as yogurt, kefir, and Japanese miso soup. Furthermore, in experiments using mice, the fatty acid HYA prevented colon conditions including colitis.
With this background, researchers at Nitto Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. (Nitto Pharma), Kyoto, Japan are exploring the potential of using fatty acid HYA for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
In a recent study, the researchers selected a cohort of 60 male and female subjects with a propensity for postprandial hyperglycemia. The subjects were given capsules containing either low or high doses of HYA or placebos followed by regimented meals, once a week for three weeks. The subjects received a different treatment each week to ensure that each subject received all three treatments. Finally, the researchers measured the blood glucose and insulin levels before and after 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes of consuming meal.
Team leader Yasunori Yonejima at Nitto Pharma, and his colleagues observed that the blood glucose levels were much lower for subjects who had taken both doses of HYA than people from placebo groups. These effects were observed within 30 minutes and lasted for up to 60 minutes. Glucose levels after 60 minutes saturated in all subjects and Insulin levels were also lower for both HYA treatments at the same measurement time intervals.
On the other hand, transient adverse events were observed in just five subjects, suggesting HYA to be safe for consumption at the doses used in these clinical trials.
“These results suggest that HYA can inhibit the elevation of postprandial blood glucose levels and may have the effect in preventing diabetes mellitus,” the researchers conclude.
Since HYA is synthesised from a dietary fatty acid by well classified probiotic bacteria, the importance of the composition of gut bacteria and diet in combatting metabolic syndrome is another important finding from this research.

Stephanie Cornwall
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