5 th SymbioCongress 2022

Targeted diabetes prevention with modern bacterial preparations / Precision probiotics from SymbioPharm in 2023

"Microbioal Therapy - Next level: Precision Probiotics" was the title of the 5th Symbio Congress 2022, with Professor Dr. Andreas Schwiertz, MVZ Institute for Microecology, as moderator. Precision probiotics are selected strains of bacteria with precisely defined effects. The focus of the online event was on the intestinal flora-based prevention of type 2 diabetes and the associated obesity.

More than 800 registered specialist participants meant a new record for the SymbioCongress and showed the strong interest in the topic of diabetes prevention using modern probiotics. Dr. Volker Rusch, founder of the Institute for Integrative Biology at the Old University of Herborn, welcomed the auditorium. He recalled the long tradition in Herborn of using good bacteria for health. As early as 1955, Hans Kolb defined the term probiotic therapy as the ingestion of living bacteria.

Dr. Jürgen Eck, Co-CEO and CTO of SymbioPharm, explained how the use of beneficial bacteria is changing: While fermented foods such as yoghurt or sour fermented vegetables have been known for a long time, probiotic preparations have been around for around 100 years. The enriched bacteria usually came from healthy people. The current focus is on target-specific effects of selected bacterial strains. These precision probiotics have defined effects due to strain-specific metabolites that lead to specific bacterial-human host interactions.

SymbioPharm GmbH will bring several precision probiotics to the German market in the first quarter of 2023.

The wrong gut bacteria promote type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease to which gut bacteria contribute significantly, explained Professor Marie-Christine Simon from the Bonn Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Studies on mice and humans have shown that obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with dysbiosis – i.e. a negatively altered intestinal flora. In particular, the cell numbers of bacteria producing butyric acid (a short-chain fatty acid) are reduced. The interaction of intestinal bacteria and nutrition is important for health.

A special strain of bacteria increases the feeling of satiety

In his presentation, Professor Pierre Déchelotte from the Nutritional Clinic at the Rouen Medical School in Normandy (France) addressed the spread of obesity as a global challenge. An important risk factor are eating disorders, which ultimately lead to obesity due to excessive food intake. The problem with dieting is the constant feeling of hunger that prevents many from sticking to the diet.

A special bacterial strain that forms a protein compound that resembles the human satiety hormone can help. The increased feeling of satiety makes it possible to stick to a slightly calorie-reduced diet. This is how the precision probiotic ensures successful weight loss.

Bacterial preparation lowers blood sugar levels in prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise around the world, Dr. Heike tom Dieck from Evonik Operations GmbH emphazsized in her presentation. Therefore, the need for targeted prevention is particularly great. Gut bacteria influence key processes that can promote or prevent diabetes. For example, Evonik has combined a special strain of bacteria with other bioactive ingredients to stimulate the growth of butyric acid-producing intestinal bacteria.

Butyric acid produced by bacteria increases the response of the body's cells to insulin, thus counteracting insulin resistance - a key process in type 2 diabetes. The combination of the specific bacterial strain with a protein building block can significantly reduce fasting blood sugar in people with prediabetes, as a study has confirmed.

Gut bacteria-gut-brain axis

Dr. Harriet Schellekens from University College Cork, Ireland, gave her presentation on the microbiota-gut-brain axis in English. Gut bacteria are necessary for normal brain development and even influence behavior. If you are overweight, the gut-brain axis also plays an important role. Persistent stress makes many people gain weight because the body releases the stress hormone cortisol and the hunger hormone ghrelin. A precision probiotic can dampen the effects of ghrelin. While it prevented weight gain in mice, it improved fasting blood sugar levels in humans, as a study has shown.

Precision probiotics in 2023

Dr. Christiane Gras, Innovation Manager at SymbioPharm GmbH, promised three precision probiotics from SymbioPharm for the first quarter of 2023 - for the indications of obesity, pre-diabetes and sleep. At the end of the congress there was a small question and answer session.

The reports on the presentations at the 5 th SymbioKongress are available for reading at www.symbiopharm.de/unternehmen/symbiopharm-gmbh/messen-kongresse/symbiokongress-2022. The recorded lectures are also shown there (Original mostly in German and one in English).

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