Date: 17 May 2014

Probiotics during weaning: a follow-up study on effects on body composition and metabolic markers at school age

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Abstract

Purpose

An aberrant gut microbiome has been suggested to contribute to the worldwide epidemic of obesity. In animal models, the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei F19 (LF19) induced upregulation of genes involved in energy homoeostasis, reduced body fat and altered the serum (S) lipoprotein profile. In our previous report, feeding LF19 to infants during weaning impacted the global plasma metabolome. LF19 lowered palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid associated with hypertriglyceridemia and increased visceral adiposity. Therefore, we assessed if feeding LF19 from 4 to 13 months of age would have long-term effects on body composition, growth and metabolic markers.

Methods

Of 179 children included in our baseline study, 120 entered the follow-up at 8–9 years of age, n = 58 in the probiotic and n = 62 in the placebo group. Body composition was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Anthropometrics of the child and accompanying parent(s) were assessed. S-lipids, insulin, glucose and transaminases were determined after overnight fasting.

Results

LF19 did not affect body mass index z-score, sagittal abdominal diameter, fat-free mass, fat mass index, truncal fat %, android or gynoid fat % and had no long-term impact on any of the assessed metabolic markers (p > 0.05).

Conclusion

Feeding LF19 during infancy did not modulate body composition, growth or any of the assessed metabolic markers at school age. The steady increase in probiotic products targeting infants and children calls for long-term follow-up of initiated probiotic intervention studies.