A research team at Hungkuang University said it has succeeded in finding four strains of lactic acid bacteria that may be effective in treating fatty liver, a condition that affects people who are obese or drink large amounts of alcohol.
In their study, researchers fed certain functional lactic acid to alcohol-addicted mice under laboratory control, said Tsen Hau-yang (曾浩洋), dean of the university’s College of Human Ecology.
After feeding the mice for eight weeks, their alcoholic-incurred fatty liver condition was found to have improved significantly, Tsen said, adding that the research results have been patented.
Now the Taichung school is in talks with local biotechnology companies on technology transfers that will enable the production and marketing of healthcare foods containing the patented lactic acid bacteria, Tsen said.
He expected that a dietary supplement targeting fatty liver in humans would be launched within one year.
Under the nation’s draft regulations, dietary or health supplements must pass animal trials to acquire an official permit for sale in the market.
The draft is expected to be approved by the Department of Health this year, Tsen’s secretary Lin Chun-hao said.
Taiwanese legislation does not require companies making dietary or health supplements to conduct clinical trials on humans.
For his part, Tsen said he is confident in the ability of lactic acid bacteria-containing products, such as yogurt, to strengthen the immunity of gastrointestinal system in humans.
Apart from the lactic acid bacteria used to improve fatty liver conditions, his research team has also developed lactic acid bacteria-containing feeds that can protect chickens from contracting salmonella, Tsen said.
In recent years, Hungkuang University has been working to establish an academic-industrial alliance that focuses on the development and production of lactic acid bacteria-containing foods that are good for human health, the school said.