Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt: An anorexigenic effect?

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I have lately been discussing the impressive effects that were observed in an elegant series of mouse experiments conducted at MIT with supplementation of the probiotic species Lactobacillus reuteri strain ATCC PTA 6475. Among the effects they observed were:

  • Failure to gain weight on an obesogenic diet
  • Thicker dermis and overall skin thickness, increased collagen
  • Increased testosterone in males
  • Increased oxytocin
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Accelerated wound healing

The increase in oxytocin—a doubling of blood levels—is especially interesting. Oxytocin is a hypothalamic gland hormone that has been shown to increase bone density, encourage feelings of empathy, and has an anorexigenic effect—it turns off appetite, even circumventing common leptin resistance that can develop in overweight people and interferes with weight control. In a recent human clinical trial, intranasal oxytocin (24 units four times per day) yielded 19 pounds of weight loss over 8 weeks compared to placebo and it did so without side-effects.

In an effort to assess whether any such effects develop in humans, I made yogurt with this strain of Lactobacillus (obtained here). The Swedish company BioGaia provide it as chewable tablets with relatively low CFUs of only 100 million per tablet. I therefore crushed 10 tablets to obtain one billion CFUs, then made yogurt from organic half-and-half and inulin, the method I’ve been using to increase microbial counts and generate an unusually rich and thick yogurt. (I tried to make yogurt starting with only 400 million CFUs and was unsuccessful, thus the higher amount on this second attempt.) I did indeed obtain yogurt, though thinner than the usual result, more like cottage cheese. I consumed this for a few days, a few tablespoons at a time, but also used it as the basis for making another batch. This second batch was more like prior efforts: thick and smooth.

I have noticed that, after taking a few tablespoons every morning mixed with a half-cup of blueberries, I completely lose interest in food for about 6 hours. I’ve previously discussed how you can use MCT oil (or oil powder) as a tool to turn off appetite to facilitate fasting, what I call “assisted fasting” that makes the fasting process easier. The disinterest in food with the L. reuteri yogurt was more prominent than with MCTs: I completely lost interest in food, even felt an aversion towards eating. If I have another serving of yogurt at, say, 2 pm, I extend the period of complete indifference to food until after dinner time.

Unfortunately, I did not monitor my testosterone or oxytocin levels, but shall in future (after a period of yogurt/L. reuteri abstinence). Should anyone else give this idea a try, please share your experience.

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