Describing how better understanding of the gut microbiome (the totality of microorganisms in the gut) was fuelling innovation in functional foods, Danone's Dr Johan Van Hylckama Vlieg, said: "There is a growing body of evidence which points to links between gut microbiota and obesity."
New research indicated that probiotics may have a positive influence against complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which could be associated with obesity, added Vlieg.
Dr Elena Mengheri from the INRAN research institute in Italy supported the potentially positive effect of probiotics on intestinal inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and IBS. "Obesity induces an inflammatory state in the adipose tissue," she said. It also reduces good bifidobacteria in the gut.
"There are encouraging results to show probiotics may have potentially beneficial effects on obesity associated with inflammation," she said.