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Consuming Probiotics For A Month Helps Diminish Fat Accumulation In The Liver, According To A New Study

Posted:  Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Research by Spanish scientist claims that probiotics reversed signs of non-alcoholic fat accumulated on the liver which leads to elevated cholesterol.

Probiotics are microorganisms that are eaten for their health benefits. They regulate immune responses which enhance healthy reactions to dangerous infectious organisms, and they suppress excessive inflammation. Additionally, probiotics promote the function of the intestinal inner lining, enhancing its ability to act as a barrier to the entry of potentially dangerous organisms and chemicals.

In their experiments, the researchers from the University of Granada found three probiotic strains that reduced the accumulation of fat in the obese rat’s livers, compared to animals given a placebo.

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 accumulation of fat in the liver is called steatosis and it constitutes the first stage in the Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, which is closely related to obesity and diabetes. Given that the prevalence of these two pathologies, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease has also become a health problem that affects millions of people throughout the world.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which the liver accumulates too much fat. This fat causes inflammation and scarring in the organ itself, which can, over time, lead to liver failure.

The increase in this disease is in direct relation to our national obesity epidemic. As people gain weight, the liver suffers. It is strongly associated with obesity and insulin resistance, and is considered to be part of “metabolic syndrome,” which is a combination of factors that raises risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Having a fatty liver, by itself, however, is not always dangerous. A number of people have fat in the liver and experience no problems. The key is whether or not that fat starts to cause inflammation.

Many people experience no signs or symptoms but for others, steatosis can cause inflammation and scarring, impairing liver function. In the worst cases, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to liver failure.

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 from the Collection Nationale de Cultures de Microorganismes (CNCM) of the Pasteur Institute administered probiotics during thirty days in the diet of Zucker rats. These rats are among the best characterized genetic models.

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.

During the experiment, researchers incorporated the strains into a diet of laboratory rats genetically engineered to become obese because of a mutation that codifies the receptor or hormone leptin, which helps give a feeling of fullness following a meal.