Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They are often found in fermented foods, dietary supplements, and some dairy products. Probiotics have been studied for their potential to improve digestive health, immunity, and mental health. In recent years, research has shown that probiotics may also play a role in weight loss. This blog will dive into the evidence-based approach to the role of probiotics in weight loss.
Probiotics and Weight Loss
Research has shown that gut microbiota, or the microorganisms that reside in the digestive tract, may play a role in the development of obesity and metabolic disorders. The gut microbiota is composed of a diverse range of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Recent research shows that certain strains of gut bacteria may be associated with weight loss, while others may be associated with weight gain.
Probiotics are thought to work in several ways to promote weight loss. Firstly, they may help to regulate appetite and decrease food intake. Studies have shown that individuals who consume probiotics consume fewer calories overall than those who do not supplement with probiotics. Secondly, probiotics may increase the amount of energy that the body can extract from food. This can lead to an increase in metabolic rate and ability to burn calories. Finally, probiotics may also decrease inflammation in the body, which has been linked to obesity and metabolic disorders.
Evidence from studies
Several studies have been conducted to investigate the role of probiotics in weight loss. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials found that consuming probiotics was associated with a decrease in body weight and body mass index (BMI) compared to placebo groups. The effects were greater in studies where the probiotics were consumed for greater than eight weeks, suggesting that long-term use of probiotics may be more effective for weight loss.
Additionally, a study of 125 overweight individuals found that those who consumed a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks lost 8.5% more body weight and 8.2% more visceral fat (fat located around the organs) than those who consumed a placebo supplement. Another study found that consuming a probiotic supplement reduced body weight and fat mass in obese women compared to those who consumed a placebo supplement.
While more research is needed to fully understand the role of probiotics in weight loss, current evidence suggests that probiotics may play a beneficial role in promoting weight loss and improving gut health. Consuming probiotics in fermented foods and dietary supplements appears to be safe for most individuals, although those with compromised immune systems should consult with a healthcare practitioner before starting probiotic supplementation. As with any weight loss plan, incorporating probiotics into an overall healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet is key to achieving long-term weight loss goals.