Spanish scientists have demonstrated through an experiment on obese rats that the consumption of probiotics for thirty days helps diminish the accumulation of fat in the liver.
The finding is a step forward in the fight against Non-Alcolohic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which is closely related to obesity and diabetes, researchers said.
Researchers from the 'Nutrition Biochemistry: Therapeutic Applications' group and the Jose Mataix Institute for Nutrition and Food Technology at the University of Granada have demonstrated that the administration of three probiotic strains diminishes the accumulation of fat in the liver of obese rats.
The accumulation of fat in the liver is called steatosis and it constitutes the first stage in the NAFLD disease.
Given that the prevalence of these two pathologies, NAFLD has also become a health problem that affects millions of people throughout the world.
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts) with healthy effects upon individuals that consume them in adequate doses.
They were traditionally considered to be living microorganisms, but the concept was widened since some dead microorganisms, or even their components, can display probiotic properties.
The researchers worked with three strains from the Collection Nationale de Cultures de Microorganismes (CNCM) of the Pasteur Institute: Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-4034, Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4035 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036.
During their first experiment, conducted on healthy volunteers, researchers demonstrated that all three of them are tolerable and safe for human consumption.
In the current study, the strains were administered during thirty days in the diet of Zucker rats. These rats develop obesity due to a mutation in the gene that codifies the receptor or leptin, a hormone that transmits a sensation of satiety to the organism.
Zucker rats are among the best characterised genetic models.
Researchers found that the administration of probiotics led to an accumulation of lipids (most of them triacylglycerides) in the liver which was significantly lower than that occurring in rats fed with a placebo.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.