Medical News Today: Can Probiotics help you lose weight?

Probiotics are live organisms that occur naturally in the gut Many supplements and fermented foods also contain probiotics Some people wonder if probiotics can help them lose weight Taking a probiotic supplement may help keep the intestinal flora balanced and promote a healthy body by boosting the digestive and immune systems While the research is still in the preliminary stages, some information suggests that probiotics could help a person lose weight, or that poor gut health has links to obesity In this article, learn about probiotics and weight loss, including whether they work and how to use them Can probiotics help you lose weight? Some probiotics may help people lose weight and boost overall health There are many different microorganisms in and on the human body, mainly in the form of friendly bacteria Researchers think that some of these bacteria may play a role in weight loss and gain In the gut, the beneficial bacteria help break down and digest food They also help create nutrients and vitamins for the body to use The probiotic bacteria feed on fibers and turn them into helpful compounds An unhealthy digestive system may lead to dysbiosis, which refers to an imbalance in the gut microbes When too many harmful microorganisms grow, there may not be enough of the helpful bacteria available to keep these harmful organisms in check.

It also typically means the diversity of bacteria in the gut is lower.

Research from 2013 suggests that gut dysbiosis contributes to the development of obesity, though it may not be the underlying cause As the author of a 2015 study notes, people at a healthy weight and people with obesity show marked differences in their gut flora Their research found that changing the gut flora in animals caused them to lose or gain weight accordingly However, in humans, changing the gut flora did not result in weight loss or gain This evidence does suggest, however, that there is a shift in a person's gut flora when they gain weight While changes are associated with obesity, they do not seem to be the underlying cause The researcher identified the following factors that can change a person's gut flora from a thin to an obese pattern: a high-fat diet the use of artificial sweeteners a disrupted diurnal rhythm There is a small body of evidence suggesting some probiotics may help people lose weight Research in The British Journal of Nutrition studied the effects that one type of probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus , had on people with obesity Women who took the probiotic supplement lost more weight during the study than women who took a placebo Additionally, the group taking a probiotic supplement continued to lose more weight in the weight-maintenance stage, after they finished dieting The same effects did not occur in men, however.

Another 2013 study looked at the effects of Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus .

During the study, individuals who were overweight but otherwise healthy ate yogurt that contained these Lactobacillus strains for 6 weeks At the end of this period, the participants had lost an average of 3–4% body fat Researchers have also examined effects of Lactobacillus gasseri for fat loss In this study, people with extra belly fat who drank fermented milk products containing the helpful bacteria lost 82– 85% of their belly fat over 12 weeks However, when they stopped drinking the milk, all of this belly fat returned This suggests probiotics can help people lose weight in some cases, but researchers still need to do more studies to back up this claim. 

Low bacterial diversity may also influence obesity.

For instance, the author of a 2015 review found that there is a link between low gut flora diversity and inflammation in the body Low microbial diversity may also be a risk factor for problems associated with obesity, such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes With these facts in mind, taking probiotics could benefit not just a person's weight loss efforts, but their overall health Types The most common probiotics are from the groups Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Each of these contain many different bacteria Probiotics may also contain other bacteria along with other organisms, such as the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii The more popular bacteria on the market and most studied for their health benefits include: Lactobacillus acidophilus.

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