Background: Gut lactobacilli can affect the metabolic functions of healthy humans. We tested whether a 1500 kcal/d diet supplemented with cheese containing the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum TENSIA (Deutsche Sammlung für Mikroorganismen, DSM 21380) could reduce some symptoms of metabolic syndrome in Russian adults with obesity and hypertension.
Methods: In this 3-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel pilot study, 25 subjects ingested probiotic cheese and 15 ingested control cheese. Fifty grams of each cheese provided 175 kcal of energy. Blood pressure (BP), anthropometric characteristics, markers of liver and kidney function, metabolic indices (plasma glucose, lipids, and cholesterol), and urine polyamines were measured. Counts of fecal lactobacilli and L. plantarum TENSIA were evaluated using molecular methods. The data were analyzed by t-test for independent samples and Spearman's partial correlation analysis.
Results: The probiotic L. plantarum TENSIA was present in variable amounts (529.6 ± 232.5 gene copies) in 16/25 (64%) study subjects. Body mass index (BMI) was significantly reduced (p = 0.031) in the probiotic cheese group versus the control cheese group. The changes in BMI were closely associated with the water content of the body (r = 0.570, p = 0.0007) when adjusted for sex and age. Higher values of intestinal lactobacilli after probiotic cheese consumption were associated with higher BMI (r = 0.383, p = 0.0305) and urinary putrescine content (r = 0.475, p = 0.006). In patients simultaneously treated with BP-lowering drugs, similar reductions of BP were observed in both groups. A positive association was detected between TENSIA colonization and the extent of change of morning diastolic BP (r = 0.617, p = 0.0248) and a trend toward lower values of morning systolic BP (r = -0.527, p = 0.0640) at the end of the study after adjusting for BMI, age, and sex.
Conclusion: In a pilot study of obese hypertensive patients, a hypocaloric diet supplemented with a probiotic cheese helps to reduce BMI and arterial BP values, recognized symptoms of metabolic syndrome.