As a proven health benefactor in the digestive tract, probiotics maintain if not improve the overall health of our intestines. These strains of microorganisms prevent and combat invasion from other microorganisms – the harmful ones, thus giving us immunity.
Probiotics have been known to be beneficial in the digestive tract particularly in the intestines. In addition to this, probiotics have now been found favorable in the liver as well. In the Spain, efforts have been made to battle Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease which is directly linked to obesity and diabetes.
Scientists from the University of Granada found the obese rats to have lesser fat buildup when they were fed with probiotics for thirty days.
Researchers from the ‘Nutrition Biochemistry: Theurapetic Applications' group (CTS-461) and the José 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, which is closely related to obesity and diabetes. Given that the prevalence of these two pathologies does not cease to increase, NAFLD has also become a health problem that affects millions of people throughout the world.
Steatosis by definition is the process by which the lipids that makes the fat are withheld inside the cells. In this case, the liver cells are where the fat deposits.
Living or dead microorganisms
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.
University of Granada researchers worked with three strains which are custodied at 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 perfectly tolerable and safe for human consumption.
In this 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 leptine, a homone that transmits a sensation of satiety to the organism. Zucker rats are among the best characterized genetic models.
Leptine is a hormone. The stored fat that we have is thought only to “store” extra calories that the body has. The stored fat actually are the ones that produce this hormone. Leptine regulates the feeling of hunger and the actual expenditure of energy that comes from fat molecules.
In their article, the authors describe 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.
“This new finding went hand in hand with lower values in proinflamatory molecules (tumor-a necrosis factor, interleukin 6 and liposacarid) in the serum of rats fed with probiotics. These effects were not observed in those from the control group.”
According to these researchers, this liver disease will not be cured with probiotics, but these microorganisms can certainly be used as support therapy in joint use with other treatment.
Like most diseases if not all, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease will not be cured with just one course, but it can be treated. Along with other treatments, consumption of probiotics can aid in reduction of fat accumulation in the liver.
Probiotics are found mostly in yoghurt, saukerkraut, cultured drinks, fermented tea, pickles and taro.
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