Probiotics are live bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. These benefits include aiding digestion, boosting the immune system, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. Recent studies suggest that probiotics may also have a potential role in weight management. In this article, we will explore what probiotics are and how they might help with weight loss.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, often called “good bacteria,” that are similar to the microorganisms found in the human gut. The most common probiotics are strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which can be found in certain foods, like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or in the form of supplements.
Probiotics and weight management
Recent studies have suggested that the balance of gut bacteria can influence weight gain and obesity. Researchers have found that people with a higher abundance of certain types of bacteria in their gut tend to have lower body weight, while those with a lower abundance tend to be overweight or obese. Some studies have suggested that supplementing with probiotics may help shift this balance towards the beneficial bacteria, leading to weight loss or preventing further weight gain.
One study found that overweight people who took Lactobacillus gasseri supplements for 12 weeks lost more weight and belly fat than those who did not take the supplements. Another study found that Bifidobacterium supplements helped prevent weight gain in healthy adults who had a higher risk of obesity.
How do probiotics affect weight?
The mechanism by which probiotics affect weight is not yet fully understood. One possible explanation is that probiotics may increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut, which can reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and help regulate body weight. SCFAs are produced by certain bacteria when they break down fiber and other complex carbohydrates in the gut.
Another theory is that probiotics may help reduce the absorption of dietary fat in the gut, leading to fewer calories being absorbed by the body. Some studies have also suggested that probiotics may help regulate appetite and satiety hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, which can influence food intake and energy balance.
Probiotics have shown promise as a potential tool for weight management, although more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and effectiveness. If you’re interested in exploring probiotics for weight loss, talk to your healthcare provider first to see if it’s appropriate for you.
– “The microbiome and obesity: is obesity linked to our gut flora?” Science Alert, https://www.sciencealert.com/how-probiotics-could-reverse-obesity
– “Can taking probiotics help you lose weight?” Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-taking-probiotics-help-you-lose-weight-2018062914156