Probiotics for Weight Loss – Myth or True

Probiotics for Weight Loss – Myth or True


For years we know how probiotics can confer to our health. For the record, probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in our gut (also on the skin and vaginal tissue of women). These tiny soldiers help in digestion, immunity, hormone responses, anxiety disorder, preventing certain diseases and much more. But do probiotics help in weight loss? It is proved in many case studies that probiotics helped in reducing weight. They either help in reducing fat in our body or prevent excess calorie absorption. Either way, they are known to play their part in weight loss. Probiotics for weight loss is less known since the research is still in the budding stage. Many of you might have tried numerous weight loss programs that are commercially sold. Why not try probiotics for weight loss! There is no harm with probiotics and you can reap other health benefits too.

Since time unknown, probiotics are consumed by us in different forms. Yogurt is the one of the oldest fermented food which has Lactobacillus strains. A research has proved that people who consumed yogurt every day had lesser gut issues, were not obese, reduction in leaky gut symptoms and had overall good health. This research also proves that gut bacteria play a prominent role in maintaining the general health of the body. The connection between probiotics and general health is well established (although the exact mechanism is yet unknown). But, do they help in reducing weight or keep a check for weight gain? Let us find out.

How do probiotics for weight loss act?

It is believed that probiotics for weight loss act by three mechanisms:

  1. By blocking the absorption of fat. Thereby increasing the fat excretion.
  2. By stimulating the secretion of Glucan Like Peptide -1 (GLP- 1) hormone. This hormone is naturally secreted after consumption of food. GLP – 1 creates a feeling of fullness which signals the brain that your gut is full (promotes satiety). Probiotics can stimulate secretion of this hormone even without consumption of food thereby reducing appetite. GLP – 1 is extensively studied for the treatment of diabetes.
  3. By stimulating Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4). ANGPTL4 is a protein expressed by gene ANFPTL4 under hypoxic condition. It is present in highest amounts in the liver. This protein helps in the mobilization of fat by inhibiting serum triglycerides.

A case study proved that probiotics increase the body metabolism. A healthy group of individuals who are overweight is given probiotic-rich yogurt laden with Lactobacillus fermentum and L. amylovorus. Another group of individuals is given simple fermented yogurt without any enrichment. Subjects who consumed probiotic yogurt have lost 3 to 5 percent body fat than the other group.

In another case study, to a group of individuals with belly fat is given Lactobacillus gasseri (BNR17 and SBT 2055). In a 12 week period, they showed a significant reduction in belly fat and subcutaneous fat.

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According to a research by ScienceDirect, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. fermentum and L. ingluviei are associated with weight gain than loss. Whereas L. gasseri and L. plantarum showed anti-obesity effect. So, if you are planning to lose weight or avoid weight gain, avoid probiotics which have weight gain effects

Other strains which are believed as probiotics for weight loss are:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis – Reduces BMI, LDL, and cholesterol.
  • Bifidobacterium breve (B-3 ) – Helps in reducing belly fat.
  • Clostridium butyricum  (CGMCC0313.1) – Reduced fat accumulation in the liver.
  • Lactobacillus paracasei – Reduces fat absorption and fat production.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum (PL 60 and 62) – Reduction of BMI and an increase in fat burn.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (CGMCC1.3724) – Induced weight loss by reducing fat mass.

Lactobacillus gasseri has shown consistent anti-obesity effect. This particular strain is extensively studied for its association with ‘probiotics for weight loss’.

In another case study, oral administration of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis, and Lactobacillus casei significantly reduced basal metabolic index (BMI) and fat in obese individuals. Oral administration of probiotics and prebiotics (synbiotics) in obese children also reduced BMI, fat, LDL (low-density lipids) and cholesterol levels.

Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes

Bacteroidetes (rod-shaped, gram-negative. Ex: Flavobacterium) and Firmicutes (round and rod-shaped, mostly gram-positive. Ex: Lactobacilli, Clostridia) are normally found in healthy individuals. Both constitute to a significant population (99%)of gut microbiota. In a case study on animals, it is found that Bacteroides are found abundantly in lean individuals whereas obese individuals had more Firmicutes.

But, this does not establish the relationship between bacteroidetes or Firmicutes and fat metabolism. It is unclear whether these probiotics increased fat deposition or high-fat diet increased the numbers of these organisms.

In a case study on 61 adult individuals, it is established that the number of Firmicutes increased and Bacteroidetes decreased with an increase in BMI (source). Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio (F/B) was significantly related to BMI. However, neither firmicutes nor Bacteroidetes are not entirely harmful individually. It is the correlation of these microbes with obesity.

How to get probiotics for weight loss?

Probiotics for weight loss are particular strains of bacteria associated with BMI and weight management. Unlike the regular probiotics, probiotics for weight loss either decrease BMI or show their effect on fat metabolism. Lactobacillus gasseri is one such strain that has a significant anti-obesity effect. One should understand that certain probiotics will confer to overall health but does not have any effect on obesity. Ensure that you don’t infuse your gut with other probiotics which aid in weight gain. Ex: Lactobacillus acidophilus.

The best way to get probiotics for weight loss is to consume fermented foods which contain diverse probiotic strains. A mix of wide range of probiotic strains will ensure that you get general probiotics that keep you healthy along with probiotics for weight loss. Fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut are rich in diverse probiotic strains. Include these foods in your daily diet. Make sure you avoid bad sugars and high-fat diet which disrupt the probiotic balance in your gut. Consumption of high fiber foods (prebiotics) will enhance the colonization of probiotics. Prebiotics will also enhance the increase in bacteroidetes.

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If you are looking for probiotic supplements for weight loss, make sure the product has a complete description of what it is selling. A simple term ‘live and active’ does not make it probiotic. The seller must describe what particular strain they sell, number of colony forming units (CFU) and shelf life. There are many probiotic supplements for weight loss which include Lactobacillus gasseri. You can have them along with your regular diet.

Probiotics for weight loss – Is it an ultimate solution?

The answer is still unclear. A lot of research is still needed. But, it is evident that probiotics for weight loss show the desired results. Though Lactobacillus gasseri is widely studied and has a strong inclination towards weight management, it is too early to confirm the actual effects of this strain on obesity. The actual mechanism of probiotics for weight loss is unclear. But, there is no harm in consuming probiotics when they have excellent health benefits.

Final Thoughts

Probiotics for weight loss is rapidly increasing in popularity. Most of these formulations do not have any ill effects and show excellent health benefits. It is widely studied since it is a natural way to lose weight. Apart from weight loss, they are good to restore your disturbed gut microbiome which confers to your overall health. Make sure you include probiotics in your daily diet.

Dr.Shashikanth Vydyula is founder of Pocket Reviewer. He is a vivid health enthusiast with a passion for beauty, wellness & nutrition.

Last update on 2018-08-16 at 00:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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