Clasado, the manufacturers and suppliers of Bimuno®, a unique trans-galactooligosaccharide prebiotic, have announced the results of a clinical study on the use of the Bimuno (B-GOS) to alter bacteria in the human gastrointestinal tract as a candidate to help prevent and manage Metabolic Syndrome. The results from the study will be published in the March 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study has been conducted on behalf of Clasado by a research team led by Dr. Jelena Vulevic, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, UK. The trial tested the effect of consuming the trans-galactooligosaccharide mixture Bimuno (a prebiotic used by human gastrointestinal microbes), altering which bacteria reside in the gastrointestinal tract, and its effects on Metabolic Syndrome. This is the first time such effects using a non-digestible oligosaccharide have been reported.
The Bimuno research is part of an on-going program by Clasado in collaboration with the University of Reading’s Food Microbial Sciences Unit and other globally recognized research institutes. The research programmes and collaboration started in 2000 to provide understanding of the link between microbiota and various aspects of human health. Bimuno is a unique patent protected second generation prebiotic.
Metabolic Syndrome refers to the group of health conditions that includes high blood sugar, hypertension and central adiposity. These tend to occur together and increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Various research has shown that Metabolic Syndrome affects up to 25% of the population of the US and UK. The chances of developing Metabolic Syndrome is increased by obesity, high stress lifestyles, and a high fat / sugar, low mineral / vitamin diet. There is no existing therapy. Weight reduction, moderate-intensity exercise, and smoking cessation are often the only treatment.
The study demonstrated that Bimuno – GOS positively affected the gut microbiota by increasing the number of positive bifidobacteria, whilst reducing more negative bacteria. Positive effects were seen as early as 6 weeks. There was also a positive effect on immune responses by increasing faecal sIgA (marker of mucosal immunity), and decreasing calprotectin and CRP (markers of inflammation). Additionally insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides and TC/HDL ratio (markers of metabolic syndrome) was reduced.
It was concluded by the team that the addition of Bimuno to the diet of individuals who are at risk of developing, or already have, Metabolic Syndrome could contribute to enhancing their gastrointestinal health, immune function and reduce some of the risk factors. While efforts to improve the diet and increase exercise in at risk individuals should continue to be the primary advice, these findings may have implications for those that either cannot, or will not, change their dietary habits or lifestyle significantly.
“Poor diet and inactive lifestyles in the western world continue to increase the prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome, already affecting 25% of those in the US and UK, and resulting in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers,” said Geoff Collins, Head of Consumer Marketing, Clasado. “It is critical to understand how modifying the gut microbiota and immune system can affect this. We are delighted that Clasado’s Bimuno might be able to contribute to combating Metabolic Syndrome.”
The research team will continue to work with Bimuno, and will run further clinical trials with diabetics and overweight adults.
“There has been little conclusive research so far into the biological mechanisms causing Metabolic Syndrome, given the diversity and size of the human microbiome,” said Dr. Jelena Vulevic, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, UK. “Greater understanding of these areas will contribute towards providing personalised nutrition that includes functional food ingredients targeting the microbiota. This will help prevent or delay the development of many current disorders such as metabolic syndrome, functional gut disorders or stress related disorders.”
About the study
The research was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study. A total of 45 overweight adults (body mass index > 25 kg/m2) with at least 3 risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome were followed for 28 weeks. During the first 12 weeks, volunteers were randomly assigned to consume either 5.5 grams of an inactive placebo (maltodextrin) daily or the same amount of Bimuno-GOS a mixture of oligosaccharides comprised mainly of galactose subunits (the sugar found mainly in milk). After a 4-week “washout period” during which no products were used, each subject consumed the product not used during the first intervention period for an additional 12 weeks. Blood and fecal samples were collected before, during, and after the study period as were measures of body weight and dimensions.
As expected, consumption of the oligosaccharide altered fecal microbial communities such that relative amounts of bifodobacteria, thought to be beneficial, were increased. Chronic inflammation, circulating insulin, and serum cholesterol, were also reduced. The immune system also showed evidence of benefit in response to oligosaccharide consumption. The authors concluded that, at least in overweight adults, consumption of these galactooligosaccharides may reduce risk for Metabolic Syndrome and its related complications.