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Probiotics in the first trimester for post pregnancy weight loss?

Laitinen K. 2009. Paper presented during European Congress on Obesity May 6-9.

This Finnish study used supplements containing Lactobacillus LGG and Bifidobacterium lactis to demonstrate the impact of a healthy gut flora on adiposity. According to the author, studying the link between obesity and probiotics in pregnant women allowed them to see the effects not only in the women but also in their children. Bacteria are passed from mother to child through the birth canal as well as through breast milk and research indicates that early nutrition may influence the risk of obesity later in life.

Two hundred and fifty six women were randomly divided into three groups during the first trimester of pregnancy. Two of the groups received dietary counselling consistent with current recommendations. One of those groups also received daily probiotic capsules while the other group received dummy capsules. The third group received placebo capsules and no dietary counselling. Supplementation continued until the women stopped exclusive breastfeeding (up to 6 months).

At the end of the study central obesity was recorded in 18% fewer women in the probiotic group than in women who received placebo plus dietary counselling, and 15% fewer women in the control group. Average body fat percentage was 28% in the probiotic group, compared with 29% and 30% in the diet advice only group and the control group respectively.

One year after childbirth the women from the probiotic group had the lowest levels of central obesity as well as the lowest body fat percentage. The researchers intend to follow the women and their babies to see whether giving probiotics during pregnancy has any influence on health outcomes in the children.

Previous research has shown that microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people and that modulation of gut microflora can directly affect metabolism and influence body glucose levels. This suggests obesity may have a microbial component.

Kim Hunter
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Author:Hunter, Kim
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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