The effect of dietary supplementation of milk fermented with indigenous probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum (LP625) alone and in combination with herbs (Aloe vera and Gymnema sylvestre) was investigated on high fat diet (HFD, 60 kcal% fat) fed mice for 12 weeks. Administration of LP625 alone or in combination with both herbs lowered the final body weight, however, a significant difference was observed with LP625 supplemented Gymnema sylvestre only as compared to the HFD fed group (25.06±0.18 vs 27.29±0.72 g, P<0.05). Similarly, the epididymal fat mass, fasting blood glucose and serum insulin levels were significantly (P<0.05) decreased by all treatment groups. In addition, a protective effect against the rise in serum and liver triglycerides, and in liver total cholesterol levels was found with the consumption of LP625 alone or in combination with herbs. Furthermore, the HFD fed mice showed a remarkable increase in the epididymal fat cell size, whereas administration of LP625 alone or in combination with herbs exhibited a significant decrease in the size. Finally, a significant increase in the relative mRNA expression of thermogenic proteins, i.e. uncoupling protein-2 (UCP-2, 1.16±0.25 fold change, P<0.05) and a decrease in pro-inflammatory markers, such as tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 (1.55±0.18 and 3.10±0.58 fold change, respectively, P<0.05) were due to LP625 supplementation in the HFD fed group. This shows that LP625 alone or supplemented with herbs seems to protect against diet induced obesity by decreasing the body and epididymal fat weight through upregulation of UCP-2 expression and reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Keywords: Aloe vera; Gymnema sylvestre; Lactobacillus plantarum; high fat diet; obesity.