There are few data regarding the role of probiotics as a dietary intervention in the management of obesity in children. An open prospective examination was conducted to clarify the effects of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS)-containing beverages in obese children. We compared the intestinal microbiota and organic acid levels between 12 obese (average age, 10.8 years; body mass index (BMI) Z score, 2.7±1.7) and 22 control children(average age, 8.5 years; BMI Z score, 0.1±0.7), and pre- and post-intervention in the obese children. The obese group underwent diet and exercise therapy for 6 months and then were given an LcS beverage daily for another 6 months and the body weight and serological markers were monitored. Significant reductions in the faecal concentrations of Bifidobacterium (obese group, 7.9±1.5 vs non-obese group, 9.8±0.5 Log10cells/g; P<0.01) along with a significant decline in the Bacteroides fragilis group, Atopobium cluster and Lactobacillus gasseri subgroup, and acetic acid (obese group, 45.1±16.9 vs non-obese group, 57.9±17.6 μmol/g; P<0.05) were observed in the obese group at baseline. A significant decline in body weight (-2.9±4.6%; P<0.05) and an elevation in the high density lipoprotein cholesterol level (+11.1±17.6%; P<0.05) were observed 6 months after ingestion of the LcS beverage compared to baseline. Furthermore, a significant increase in the faecal concentration of Bifidobacterium (7.0±1.2 before ingestion vs 9.1±1.2 Log10cells/g after ingestion; P<0.01) and an apparent increase in the acetic acid concentration (7.0±1.2 before ingestion vs 9.1±1.2 Log10cells/g after ingestion; P<0.01) were observed 6 months after ingestion. LcS contributed to weight loss while also improving the lipid metabolism in obese children via a significant increase in the faecal Bifidobacterium numbers and the acetic acid concentration.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Lactobacillus casei; acetic acid; children; obesity.