Numerous studies focused on the role of probiotics have permitted to enlarge our knowledge of the potential use of an increasing number of probiotic strains in host’s physiology.
In this critical review, Le Barz and co-workers examined the most recent studies concerning the effects of probiotic bacterial strains in the prevention or treatment of metabolic disorders, such as obesity, insulin resistance or diabetes mellitus. The authors focused the analyses on the effects of probiotic administration on metabolic disorders, with special attention to mechanisms of action and their ability to decrease metabolic endotoxemia by restoring the disrupted intestinal mucosal barrier. The authors also discussed the perspective of using new bacterial strains, also genetically engineered bacterial strains, as well as the use of prebiotics to enhance the functionality of probiotics.
The authors summarized some of the benefits of probiotic administration. Several studies indicated that probiotics stimulated the immune response, improved lactose tolerance, helped prevent diarrhea, had an anti-inflammatory effect, and even restored obesity-linked gut dysbiosis, which is frequently associated with metabolic disorders in humans. Also, the authors observed that probiotics could act by (1) restoring the disrupted intestinal barrier and therefore reducing endotoxemia, (2) producing short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, or (3) decreasing low-grade inflammation. In addition, they pointed out that there was no “universal strain” of probiotics that alone provides all the benefits associated with probiotics; rather, probiotic effects were often strain-specific. Finally, they indicated that prebiotics could enhance the functionality of probiotics on body weight loss and maintenance, when they are co-administrated to the host organism.