Some Americans have resorted to probiotics in their search for a weight-loss magic bullet. Some people assume that taking probiotic supplements, which support the good bacteria that naturally exist in the gut, will help them lose weight. probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
Are probiotics the long-awaited weight-loss solution? Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, a gut microbiota researcher and expert, explains. probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
How it all began
Scientists found years ago that the composition of friendly gut bacteria (known as the gut microbiota) differed between obese and normal-weight people.
To find out more, researchers implanted friendly gut microbes from various people into unique mice without gut bacteria and discovered:
– When mice were given gut bacteria from people of ordinary weight, there was no change in their weight.
– When the gut bacteria came from an obese person, it caused weight increase.
Given these data, it appeared that gut bacteria may play a role in weight regulation.
According to Dr. Cresci, the only human comparison to the mice study is gut microbiota transplants (also known as fecal transplants). For those who have an overgrowth of the nasty pathogenic gut bacteria Clostridioides difficile, doctors do fecal transplants. They insert faeces from a healthy individual into the colon of a C. diff patient. probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
According to Dr. Cresci, “researchers are discovering that many normally slender individuals who receive a fecal transplant become overweight over time.” “Given that 40% of Americans are obese, it’s likely that 40% of the gut microbiota transplants came from someone who is obese, potentially triggering this surprise weight gain.” probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
Is weight loss induced by probiotics a myth?
These findings sparked hope and speculation that just taking a medication containing the proper gut bacteria could help people lose weight. probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
“The problem with this argument is that fecal transfers contain trillions of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungus, and yeasts,” adds Dr. Cresci. “With a probiotic, a person is likely to only get a fraction of that, with one to only a few beneficial microorganisms, so there’s no guarantee it’ll help with weight loss.” probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
Even more recent studies on synbiotics (a probiotic and prebiotic combination) concluded that they had no effect on weight loss or body composition. Synbiotics did have a good impact on the composition of friendly gut bacteria, so it wasn’t all bad.
Dr. Cresci says, “I think it’s safe to state that the existing probiotics won’t help patients lose much, if any, weight.” “However, experts are currently looking into the link between weight and gut microbes – there’s still hope.” probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
Your gut microbiome… and your health may benefit from the appropriate diet.
The fundamental benefit of probiotics is that they boost your beneficial bacteria and keep you healthy. Should you take a vitamin for gut health even if it isn’t going to help you lose weight?
What researchers do know is that a healthy diet comes first, followed by supplements. The most critical aspect in keeping good gut bacteria is a balance of healthy protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources. When high-fiber meals are fed to friendly bacteria, they live and thrive.
However, a low-fiber diet (low-carbohydrate, high-protein, and/or high-fat) lowers the quantity of beneficial bacteria. probioticseverything.com probiotic weight loss
“Because a low-carb diet does not provide enough fuel for the beneficial bacteria, the gut microbiota blend alters, and the beneficial bacteria become depleted.” “Then the nasty bacteria take hold,” explains Dr. Cresci. probioticseverything.com
Researchers discovered that the harmful bacteria devoured the protein and created byproducts linked to an increased risk of colon cancer in one study.
While the jury is still out on whether probiotics might help you lose weight, it’s apparent that eating a balanced diet is essential. A high-fiber diet can help you keep your gut — and overall — in good shape. A probiotic, in combination with a healthy diet, may help some people improve their gut health. Consult your doctor to check if it is appropriate for you.