When it comes to losing weight, there are a lot of different strategies out there. Some people try to cut down on their calories or exercise more frequently, while others turn to diet fads like the keto diet or juice cleanses.
But what about probiotics? Are they really an effective tool for weight loss? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind this popular claim.
What are probiotics?
Before we dive into the weight loss benefits of probiotics, it’s important to understand what they actually are.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. They’re found in certain foods and supplements, and they help to keep your gut microbiome healthy.
Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When your gut is healthy, these microorganisms help to support your immune system, aid in digestion, and even play a role in your mental health.
How do probiotics affect weight loss?
Now that we know what probiotics are and how they work, let’s talk about their potential impact on weight loss.
Some studies have suggested that taking probiotics may help to reduce body weight and fat percentage. For example, a 2013 review of 25 studies found that supplementing with probiotics was associated with a modest decrease in body weight and fat percentage in both obese and overweight individuals.
Similarly, a 2018 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that taking a probiotic supplement helped to reduce body weight and BMI in overweight and obese individuals.
So why do probiotics appear to have these weight loss benefits? There are a few different theories:
1. Probiotics may help to increase feelings of fullness. Some research suggests that certain strains of probiotics may help to increase levels of the hormone GLP-1, which signals to your brain that you’re full and should stop eating.
2. Probiotics may help to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of health problems, including obesity. Some research has suggested that taking probiotics may help to reduce inflammation in the body.
3. Probiotics may help to alter your gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome plays a key role in your metabolism and weight regulation. Some strains of probiotics may help to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, which could potentially aid in weight loss.
What are the best probiotics for weight loss?
If you’re interested in trying probiotics to aid in weight loss, it’s important to choose the right strains. Some of the most promising strains for weight management include:
- Lactobacillus gasseri: This strain may help to reduce belly fat and improve body composition (the ratio of fat to lean muscle mass).
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: This strain has been shown to reduce body weight and fat percentage in some studies.
- Bifidobacterium lactis: This strain may help to reduce body weight and fat mass, particularly in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
- Streptococcus thermophilus: This strain has been shown to reduce body weight and improve body composition in some studies.
Keep in mind that the optimal dosage and duration of probiotic use for weight loss is still being studied. Some research suggests that taking a supplement with at least 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per day may be beneficial.
The bottom line
While the research on probiotics for weight loss is still evolving, there’s promising evidence to suggest that certain strains may help to reduce body weight and fat percentage. If you’re interested in trying probiotics for weight management, talk to your healthcare provider about the best strains and dosages for your needs.