Recent findings on the association of gut microbiota with various diseases, including obesity, prompted us to investigate the possibility of using a certain type of gut bacteria as a safe therapeutic for obesity. Lactobacillus mutants with enhanced capacity in absorption of free fatty acids (FFAs) were isolated to show reduced absorption of FFAs by the administered host, attributing to inhibition of body weight gain and body fat accumulation as well as amelioration of blood profiles. Consequently, high throughput screening of natural FFAs-absorbing intestinal microbes led to the isolation of Lactobacillus reuteri JBD30 l. The administration of Lactobacillus JBD30l lowered the concentration of FFAs in the gut fluid content of small intestine, thus reducing intestinal absorption of FFAs whereas promoting fecal excretion of FFAs. Animal data also confirmed that the efficacy of Lactobacillus JBD30l on body weight similar to that of orlistat, an FDA-approved pharmaceutical for long-term use to treat obesity. In a subsequent random, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (KCT0000452 at Clinical Research Information Service of Korea), there was a statistically significant difference in the percentage change in body weight between the Lactobacillus JBD301 and the placebo group (P = 0.026) as well as in the BMI (P = 0.036) from the 0-week assessment to the 12-week assessment. Our results show that FFA-absorbing Lactobacillus JBD301 effectively reduces dietary fat absorption, providing an ideal treatment for obesity with inherent safety.
Keywords: Lactobacillus; absorption; free fatty acid; intestinal; obesity.