Let’s face it, when it comes to weight loss the lies are more than the truths. However, if you are to believe “basic science”, probiotics are connected to weight loss because of the impact that gut bacteria have on metabolism and digestion. The human gut, as in your gut right now contains trillions of microorganisms, including both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Research has shown that imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to various health problems, including obesity and metabolic disorders.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help improve the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. When consumed, probiotics can help reduce inflammation, improve gut barrier function, and enhance nutrient absorption. Additionally, some strains of probiotics have been shown to increase the production of hormones that regulate appetite and reduce fat storage. How about this: What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics?
In this guide, we will take a Probiotic Lifestyle approach and lean hard into the science versus practical knowledge. We will explore the relationship between probiotics and weight loss, including the science behind this relationship, the specific strains of probiotics that have been shown to be effective for weight loss, and the potential benefits of probiotics for other aspects of health.
The Science Behind Probiotics and Weight Loss
Gut Microbiota: The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These microorganisms play an essential role in digestion, immune function, and metabolism. Recent research has suggested that the composition of the gut microbiota may play a role in weight management, with an imbalance in the microbiota being linked to obesity and other metabolic disorders (Scientific Source). Probiotics can influence the composition of the gut microbiota by increasing the number of beneficial microorganisms, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and decreasing the number of harmful microorganisms. This can lead to improvements in digestion, immune function, and metabolism, potentially leading to weight loss.
Mechanisms of Probiotics for Weight Loss
Several mechanisms have been proposed for how probiotics may contribute to weight loss, including increasing satiety, reducing inflammation, increasing energy expenditure, and altering the gut microbiota.
Probiotic Strains for Weight Loss
Lactobacillus gasseri: This strain of probiotic has been shown in some studies to reduce body weight and abdominal fat in overweight adults. For instance, a study published in the journal of functional foods found that lactobacillus gasseri supplementation for 12 weeks resulted in reductions in body weight and abdominal fat in overweight adults (link to the scientific study).
Bifidobacterium lactis: This strain of probiotic has been shown in some studies to reduce body weight and body fat percentage in overweight and obese adults. One study found that overweight participants who consumed a fermented milk product containing Bifidobacterium lactis for 6 weeks experienced a reduction in body weight compared to a control group (link to the scientific source).
Lactobacillus fermentum: This strain of probiotic has been shown in some studies to reduce body weight and waist circumference in overweight and obese adults. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that obese participants who consumed a supplement containing Lactobacillus fermentum for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference compared to a control group. (Scientific Study).
Other Probiotic Strains: While these strains have shown promise in some studies, more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness for weight loss. These include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Benefits of Probiotics for Other Aspects of Weight Loss
Probiotics can improve digestion by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, improving the function of the digestive system, and reducing symptoms of digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Subsequently, it is easier for individuals to manage their dietary intake and engage in weight loss programs.
Probiotics can improve immune function by increasing the production of antibodies and improving the function of immune cells. There is a connection between immune function and weight loss, as the immune system plays a critical role in regulating metabolic health and inflammation. When the immune system is functioning properly, it helps protect the body from harmful pathogens and maintains a state of equilibrium known as immune homeostasis.
However, when the immune system is overactive or dysfunctional, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which is associated with many health problems, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. Chronic inflammation can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, process fat, and maintain a healthy weight.
Some research has suggested that probiotics may have a positive effect on mental health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
There is a connection between mental health and weight loss, as psychological factors can influence eating behaviors and the ability to achieve and maintain weight loss goals. Poor mental health can contribute to overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and a lack of motivation to exercise, all of which can lead to weight gain.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are some of the most common mental health issues that can contribute to weight gain. In response to stress, the body produces cortisol, a hormone that can increase appetite and lead to overeating. Chronic stress can also interfere with sleep, which can further disrupt appetite regulation and lead to weight gain.
Depression can also contribute to weight gain, as it can lead to changes in appetite, energy levels, and motivation to exercise. Some individuals with depression may turn to food as a coping mechanism, leading to overeating and weight gain. Furthermore, weight gain itself can also negatively impact mental health. It can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, shame, and guilt, which can further contribute to poor mental health.
Some strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve mood in both animals and humans. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Frontiers in Neurology Journal found that probiotics were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in individuals with clinical or subclinical anxiety (Scientific Study).
Probiotics for Weight Loss: Scientific Research
- Probiotics and Belly Fat:
Belly fat is a common problem for many people. Studies have shown that consuming probiotics can help reduce belly fat. One study found that overweight individuals who consumed probiotics for 12 weeks had significant reductions in belly fat compared to those who did not consume probiotics (Scientific Source). The specific strain of probiotic that was effective in reducing belly fat was Lactobacillus gasseri.
- Women-Centric Weight Loss:
Women often face unique challenges when it comes to weight loss. Probiotics can play a role in women-centric weight loss. One study found that women who consumed probiotics had significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference compared to those who did not consume probiotics (Scientific Source). Additionally, probiotics have been shown to help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
- Menopause Weight Loss:
Menopause can cause weight gain and make it difficult for women to lose weight. Probiotics can help with menopause weight loss by improving digestion and reducing inflammation. One study found that postmenopausal women who consumed probiotics had significant reductions in body weight, BMI, and waist circumference compared to those who did not consume probiotics (Scientific Source).
How to Incorporate Probiotics into Your Diet
Food Sources: Probiotics can be found in many fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Supplements: Probiotic supplements are available in many forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. It is important to choose a supplement that contains the specific strains of probiotics that have been shown to be effective for weight loss.
If you are more advanced in your Probiotic Journey, check this out: What are the Best Vitamin Supplements to Take with Probiotics?
Considerations When Choosing a Probiotic for Weight Loss
Side effects: While probiotics are generally considered safe, some people may experience mild side effects such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. These side effects usually resolve on their own within a few days.
Quality: When choosing a probiotic supplement, it is important to choose a high-quality product from a reputable manufacturer. Look for supplements that contain live and active cultures, and avoid products that have added sugars or artificial ingredients.
Dosage: The optimal dosage of probiotics for weight loss is not yet established, but most studies have used doses ranging from 1-10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day. It is important to follow the dosage instructions on the supplement label, and to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.
I am very skinny courtesy of a Lamborghini-type metabolism, so I am the last person to be lecturing people about weigh loss. I always figure out that the way I find it hard to gain any weight is the same way some people find it hard to lose weight. In essence, the connection between probiotics and weight loss is still an area of active research. Nevertheless, enough studies have shown that probiotics may have a positive impact on gut health, inflammation, and metabolism, which could potentially contribute to your weight loss efforts.
Furthermore, improving gut health through probiotic supplementation may also have a positive impact on mental health, which can in turn positively impact weight loss efforts.
You might also be interested in this version of research: Can Probiotics Help with Your Weight Loss?
If you’re interested in incorporating probiotics into your diet to aid in weight loss, here are some user-specific tips:
Consult with your healthcare provider: Before starting any new supplement regimen, it is important to talk to a knowledgeable professional to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you. Wherever you have gotten good health advice in the past is where you turn to, right?
Choose the right strains: Better yet, change strains with a view of landing into weight loss mecca. Look for probiotic supplements that contain strains of bacteria that have been shown to improve gut health and potentially aid in weight loss, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Incorporate probiotic-rich foods: A key commandment of the Probiotic Lifestyle involves getting deep into the practical essence of ingesting as much probiotic-rich foods as possible. For instance, in addition to your possibly pricy probiotic supplements, you can also incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
Focus on overall healthy habits, not just the probiotics: Again, this is what we do in the context of the Probiotic Lifestyle. While probiotics may have a positive impact on weight loss, they are not a magic solution. It is important to focus on overall healthy habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, to achieve and maintain weight loss goals.
Consider other factors of your life: Keep in mind that weight loss is influenced by many factors, including genetics, age, and lifestyle factors. Probiotics may be one piece of the puzzle, but it is important to consider all factors when working towards weight loss goals. For instance, Five Key Indications That Your Body Needs Probiotics…
Incorporating probiotics into your diet may have potential benefits for both weight loss and mental health. However, the only way to know for sure is to try and see the results for yourself!