Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and most of the world’s population now live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. Obesity represents a major health challenge because it substantially increases the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. In recent years, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has soared worldwide with approximately 462 million individuals affected, corresponding to 6.28% of the world’s population.
Dr. Harriet Schellekens and colleagues, at the APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre in UCC, identified Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 to be an important regulator of apetite and metabolism during laboratory studies. In a group of healthy people who were overweight or obese, this research shows that the novel bacterial strain Bifidobacterium Longum APC1472 reduced their fasting blood glucose levels and could normalize active levels of both ghrelin, a hormone that signals hunger, and the stress hormone cortisol, both of which are altered in obesity.