Three probiotic strains exert different effects on plasma bile acid profiles in healthy obese adults: randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study

Benef Microbes. 2019 May 28;10(5):497-509. doi: 10.3920/BM2018.0151. Epub 2019 May 15.


Microbial metabolism in the gut may alter human bile acid metabolism in a way that beneficially affects lipid homeostasis and therefore cardiovascular disease risk. Deconjugation of bile acids by microbes is thought to be key to this mechanism but has yet to be characterised in blood and stool while observing lipid markers. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of 3 different probiotic strains on plasma and stool bile acids in the context of lipid and glucose metabolism. In this 18-week, randomised, double-blind crossover study, healthy adults (53±8 years) with a high waist circumference underwent a 1-week pre-baseline period and were then randomised to receive 1 capsule/day of Bacillus subtilis R0179 (2.5×109 cfu/capsule; n=39), Lactobacillus plantarum HA-119 (5×109 cfu/capsule; n=38), Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis B94 (5×109 cfu/capsule; n=37) or placebo for 6 weeks. Following a 3-week washout and second pre-baseline week, participants were crossed to the other intervention for 6 weeks followed by a 1-week post-intervention period. Blood and stool samples were collected at the beginning and end of each intervention to measure bile acids, serum lipid profiles, and glucose and insulin levels. Data from the placebo intervention were combined for all participants for analyses. In obese participants, the difference (final-baseline) in the sum of deconjugated plasma bile acids was greater with consumption of B. subtilis (691±378 nmol/l, P=0.01) and B. lactis (380±165 nmol/l, P=0.04) than with placebo (98±176 nmol/l, n=57). No significant differences were observed for any probiotics for stool bile acids, serum lipids, blood glucose or insulin. These data suggest that B. subtilis and B. lactis had no effect on glucose metabolism or serum cholesterol but increased deconjugated plasma bile acids in obese individuals. Additional studies should be conducted to confirm these findings and explore potential mechanisms. This trial was registered at as NCT01879098.

Keywords: HA-119; R0179; subsp. B94; deconjugated bile acids; serum lipids.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacillus subtilis / growth & development
  • Bifidobacterium animalis / growth & development
  • Bile Acids and Salts / blood*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus plantarum / growth & development
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Placebos

Associated data