In the gut, probiotics are live organisms. Fermented foods and supplements often contain probiotics. A lot of people wonder if probiotics have any effect on weight loss.
Find out if probiotics help weight loss and how to use them in this article.
What are Probiotics Supplements?
Probiotics are bacteria that support the growth of the “good bacteria” in your gut that are responsible for healthy digestion, boosting your immune system, promoting heart health, and regulating your mood.
There are various bacteria in our body that set up shop in various parts of our bodies, most notably in the gut where there are an estimated 100 trillion bacteria that help the body digest food and eliminate waste products.
Our gut microbiome is the sum total of this microbial population, and it consists of more bacteria than human cells, by a ratio of about 3 to 1.
Maintaining these gut buddies in good health can help prevent certain conditions, including heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and mental health issues.
Supplements and food sources of probiotics contain many of the good bacteria and yeast found in the human body.
By consuming them, we can maintain the balance in our bodies and prevent the accumulation of “bad” bacteria that multiply when we eat unhealthy foods (such as red meat, high-fat dairy, and fried foods).
In studies, probiotics and healthy gut bacteria have been shown to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, however, there has been new research that links taking probiotics with reduced body fat, improved body weight, and smaller waist sizes.
Can Probiotics Supplement Help You Lose Weight?
A recent review of well-designed studies shows that probiotics can lead to weight loss and a lower body fat percentage in overweight and obese people.
Certain strains of the Lactobacillus family, in particular, have been found to help you lose weight and belly fat.
Over 6 weeks, eating yoghurt containing Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus reduced body fat by 3–4%.
In another study, 125 overweight dieters were studied to determine whether Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements had an effect on weight loss and weight maintenance.
Compared to women taking a placebo, those taking the probiotics lost 50% more weight over 3 months. Furthermore, those taking the probiotics maintained their weight loss during the weight maintenance period.
114 adults with obesity were randomized to receive Lactobacillus sakei or a placebo for 12 weeks in one well-designed study. Both body fat mass and waist circumference were significantly reduced in those who took the probiotic.
To date, Lactobacillus gasseri has been shown to be one of the most promising probiotic bacteria for weight loss. The anti-obesity effects of this compound have been demonstrated in numerous rodent studies.
Furthermore, studies in adults have shown promising results.
In one study, lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks reduced body weight, fat around organs, body mass index (BMI), waist size, and hip circumference in 210 people with significant amounts of belly fat.
Additionally, participants lost 8.5% of their belly fat. Within a month of stopping the probiotic, participants regained all of the belly fat they had lost.
Probiotics from other strains may also be beneficial for reducing weight and belly fat.
Overweight or obese women took either a probiotic containing both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium or a placebo along with dietary intervention in an 8-week study.
There was a significant amount of belly fat loss among those consuming the probiotic over those taking a placebo.
One study found that people who took Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis daily for three months lost significantly more belly fat, had a lower BMI, and had a smaller waist circumference than people who took a placebo.
Women experienced these effects to a greater extent.
Obesity cannot be cured by losing weight alone. It may be even more effective to prevent obesity by preventing unwanted weight gain in the first place.
One study found that taking a probiotic formulation called VSL#3 reduced weight gain and fat gain when people ate 1,000 more calories than they needed per day.
A high-calorie diet may lead to weight loss with some probiotic strains. More research is needed on this subject.
Probiotics have not been proven to aid in weight loss in every study.
According to some studies, certain strains of probiotics may cause weight gain rather than weight loss.
It was found in a recent review that the effects of probiotics on body weight depended on the strains and species of bacteria used. Lactobacillus gasseri reduces weight gain in a study compared to a control; however, another strain promotes weight gain
I have also reviewed a lot of other weight loss supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
How Does Probiotics Supplements Promote Weight Loss?
Exactly how probiotics reduce body fat and weight remains a mystery.
As a consequence of the production of short-chain fatty acids, acetate, propionate, and butyrate, probiotics seem to affect appetite and energy consumption.
Certain probiotics may prevent fat from being absorbed by the body, increasing the amount of fat excreted with faeces.
This means that your body “harvests” fewer calories from the foods you eat.
Lactobacillus bacteria, for example, are known to function in this way.
In addition to helping fight obesity, probiotics may also:
- Release of appetite-reducing hormones: PYY (peptide YY) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) are appetite-reducers released by probiotics. By increasing the levels of these hormones, you may burn more calories and fat.
- Increased levels of fat-regulating proteins: Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) may be increased by probiotics. This may reduce fat storage.
Inflammation throughout the body is strongly linked to obesity. Probiotics can reduce inflammation in the gut lining and protect you from obesity and other diseases.
A deeper understanding of these mechanisms is needed.
Other Probiotics Supplements Benefits
Probiotics can perform a wide range of functions, including the following, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health:
- Keeping the gut balanced by competing with harmful bacteria
- Keeping a healthy balance of helpful microorganisms
- Activating the immune system
- Preventing harmful microorganisms from entering the digestive tract
Probiotics may also have many other effects, other than promoting healthy digestion. Numerous body functions are influenced by a healthy gut colony, according to research from 2015.
- Overall nutrition
- Immune system regulation
- Balance of hormones
- Mood regulation
- Enhancing the growth of the nervous system
How To Combine Probiotics Supplements with Other Weight Loss Strategies
Weight loss probiotics supplements still need some help in order to function at their best. According to a review published in 2020, combining probiotics with prebiotics, diet, and physical activity can enhance weight loss.
Although probiotics and prebiotics sound similar, they perform different functions. Live bacteria are probiotics, but prebiotics is the food that the bacteria eat. Carbohydrates, mostly fibre-rich options, are indigestible.
Beneficial bacteria in our gut consume them as they travel through the gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotic Supplement Precautions and Side Effects
Most people are considered safe to consume these good bacteria since they already exist in their bodies. Some things should be considered, however.
Allergic reactions can occur when they are consumed. When you first start taking them, they may cause mild stomach problems. You may feel bloated, gassy, or dizzy when you first begin taking them. Those symptoms usually disappear after a few days.
There is a greater risk of issues if you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition. Several reports have suggested that probiotics can cause serious infections.
Those who have immune system problems, those who have had surgery, and those who are critically ill are more likely to experience problems. Those conditions shouldn’t be treated with probiotics.
Consult your paediatrician before giving your child probiotic supplements. Pregnant or nursing women should also consult their doctors before trying one.
The majority of probiotics sold in the United States are dietary supplements. As a result, the companies that make them do not have to prove that their products work or are safe. More research is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of probiotics.
Your doctor can recommend the right probiotics for you. If you experience any problems, stop taking them immediately.
Probiotic Supplement Alternative: Food Sources
You’ll miss out on some tasty foods that can improve your gut health if you take a probiotic supplement every day. Including these in your diet will provide you with more whole, natural sources of probiotics that also come with other nutrients and fibre.
- Sauerkraut: fermented cabbage that can be eaten as part of a salad, sandwich, or on its own.
- Kimchi: A fermented cabbage containing Asian spices and vegetables.
- Kombucha: This tea is fermented with a variety of bacteria and yeasts. It has become increasingly popular over the years and is readily available at most grocery stores.
- Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, it’s high in probiotics and a great source of protein.
- Miso: In paste form, miso is another option for fermented soybeans. You can find it in Asian-inspired dishes, such as miso soup.
- Fortified dairy alternatives: Live bacteria are commonly found in soy and nut milks and yogurts. If it has Lactobacillus or another strain, check the label.
Final Words: Should You Take Probiotics Supplement?
The Health benefits of probiotics are numerous.
Their weight-loss effects, however, are mixed and seem to vary depending on the type of probiotic.
Lactobacillus gasseri is thought to help people with obesity lose weight and belly fat. In addition, VSL#3, a probiotic supplement blend, may help people on a high-calorie diet lose weight.
When combined with a healthy, whole food diet, certain types of probiotics can have modest effects on weight.
Nevertheless, taking a probiotic supplement has many other benefits.