This study evaluated the impact of probiotic supplementation (Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 (LPR)) on appetite sensations and eating behaviors in the context of a weight-reducing program. Obese men (n = 45) and women (n = 60) participated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that included a 12-week weight loss period (Phase 1) based on moderate energy restriction, followed by 12 weeks of weight maintenance (Phase 2). During the two phases of the program, each subject consumed two capsules per day of either a placebo or a LPR formulation (10 mg of LPR equivalent to 1.6 108 CFU/capsule, 210 mg of oligofructose, and 90 mg of inulin). The LPR supplementation increased weight loss in women that was associated with a greater increase in the fasting desire to eat (p = 0.03). On the other hand, satiety efficiency (satiety quotient for desire to eat) at lunch increased (p = 0.02), whereas disinhibition (p = 0.05) and hunger (p = 0.02) scores decreased more in the LPR-treated women, when compared with the female control group. Additionally, the LPR female group displayed a more pronounced decrease in food craving (p = 0.05), and a decrease in the Beck Depression Inventory score (p = 0.05) that was significantly different from the change noted in the placebo group (p = 0.02), as well as a higher score in the Body Esteem Scale questionnaire (p = 0.06). In men, significant benefits of LPR on fasting fullness and cognitive restraint were also observed. Taken together, these observations lend support to the hypothesis that the gut-brain axis may impact appetite control and related behaviors in obesity management.
Keywords: appetite sensations; body weight; eating behaviors; food intake; gut-brain axis; probiotics.