Probiotics has been known to greatly improve gut flora, enhance digestive health, boost the body’s immunity and help keep a healthy heart. But: Can Probiotics Help in Weight Loss?
The WHO (World Health Organization) in a report in October 2001 defined probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics are mostly found in fermented foods and supplements.
The modern idea of eating foods with good bacteria or probiotics was first popularized by Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff, who said that by taking in foods with probiotics it is possible to modify the gut microbiota to replace the harmful microbes (bad bacteria) to useful ones (good bacteria).
Metchnikoff who was then a professor of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, further said that bad bacteria in the stomach produce toxic substances which contribute to the aging process. However, a study of fermented milk with lactic-acid bacteria showed to inhibit the growth of these bad bacteria thereby lessening the toxicity level in the gut.
Metchnikoff likewise observed that some rural populations in Europe who lived largely on fermented milk exceptionally lived longer than their neighboring counterparts.
Now, if probiotics are good for our health, the question now becomes, can it also help us lose weight? Well, there are several research and studies that suggest that probiotics can aid in melting belly fat and help the body lose weight.
Bacteria In the Gut Can Affect Body Weight
Inside our digestive system are hundreds of different kinds of microorganisms. Many of these are useful or what we call as friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria produce vital nutrients for the body. Some of these nutrients are vitamin K and B-vitamins. Probiotics also help the body break down fiber from the food we eat for proper absorption by converting them into good short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate.
Did you know that there are 2 main groups of friendly or good bacteria in our gut? These are bacteroidetes and firmicutes. What is interesting is that it would appear that our body weight is relatively connected to the balance between these 2 groups.
Studies on the balance of these 2 groups of good bacteria have shown that in humans as well as in animals, those who have normal-weight appear to have a different gut bacteria composition than those of obese or overweight ones. Those with extra weight had more firmicutes and lesser bacteroidetes than normal-weighted ones.
Furthermore, relative studies conducted on mice showed that when the bacteria from the gut of an obece mice was transplanted into the gut of a lean mice, the latter became fat as well. These led to the belief that gut bacteria composition in the digestive system can affect body weight.
Does Probiotics Have An Effect On Weight?
Surprisingly, studies have shown that probiotics can actually help you when you are aiming to lose those extra weight. Certain probiotics can actually lessen the absorption of fat from the food you eat and instead excretes the same out of your system. Conversely speaking, probiotics can lessen the calorie your body absorbs from the food intake.
Of the many good bacteria, those in the Lactobacillus family, have shown to effectively help in weight loss.
Other benefits of Probiotics including how to remedy obesity are as follows:
- Increase of ANGPTL4: Probiotics can increase the levels of the protein known as ANGPTL4. When this happens it could decrease the fat storage of the body.
- Release of GLP-1: Probiotics can also help release the appetite reducing hormone known as GLP-1. When this happens, an increased level of this satiety hormone may help burn fat and calories.
It is also important to know that obesity is not only a physical or aesthetic issue. Studies have actually shown that keeping those extra weights is linked to brain inflammations. When gut health is improved or eating foods with probiotics can help reduce the risk of systemic inflammation and guard your body from other diseases. Probiotics is also a good remedy if you want to start ditching those extra pounds off.
However, although there are many testimonials of people who had benefits with probiotics, we have to keep in mind that there are yet unexplored frontiers in the study of probiotics. More scientific research is still needed in this field. Therefore, it is not too bad to learn as much as you can about the probiotic you want to incorporate in your meals.
Can Probiotics Melt Belly Fat and Help You Lose Weight ?
A species of bacteria , lactobacillus, is known to produce the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose or milk sugar. It also produces lactic acid which helps control the spread of bad bacteria in the gut. It can fuel the body’s muscle and help in the efficient absorption of minerals.
Certain strains of the probiotic Lactobacillus have been found to aid in melting belly fat and reduce weight. In a study, those who ate yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus had their body fat reduced by 3-4% in a 6-week period.
On the other hand, a separate study of the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus on 125 dieters who are overweight on weight loss and weight maintenance., revealed that: In the 3-month period of study, those who took probiotics, especially women, lost 50% more weight than those in the control group. And surprisingly, they continued to lose weight during the maintenance stage of the research.
The Promise of Lactobacillus Gasseri
Lactobacillus gasseri, of the numerous strains of all probiotics have shown the most promise to cause weight loss. Many studies conducted have resulted in the conclusion that this strain of good bacteria can combat obesity.
A study with Japanese adults came out with very good results. And in another study afterwards showed that 210 people who took Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks resulted in the reduction of their body weight, waist circumference, BMI and hip size. Belly fat was seen to have reduced by 8.5%.
In the study, when these people who lost weight were made to stop eating Lactobacillus gasseri, it was found out that they immediately regained their lost weight in just over a month. This showed the effect of this strain of good bacteria on weight loss.
Certain Probiotics Than Can Inhibit Weight Gain
Prevention is always better than a cure. Having the drive and determination to lose excess weight and fight obesity is very commendable. Taking certain types of probiotics for weight loss is a move in that direction.
But we have to realize as early as now that the issues of weight gain or obesity are most often lifestyle related. Regaining our lives back, becoming fit and healthy and looking sexy as well starts with a solid decision to stick to our ideal weight, maintain self control and lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Taking probiotics is not a one time solution. It is but a tool to help us achieve our weight goals,
Losing those excess pounds and maintaining our ideal weight is the ultimate goal. In order to achieve this and if you are inclined to get the help of a very good and effective probiotic try the probiotic formulation called VSL#3.
In clinical trials during a 4-week period, dieters who took VSL#3 the lost weight and melted fats despite having been overfed with added 1000 calories a day.
Caution: There Are Probiotic Strains That Can Cause Obesity and Weight Gain
Despite its many benefits, a word of caution must be given that not all probiotics help in weight loss and fight obesity. There are probiotic strains that can actually cause you to gain weight. Unless you are on a weight gain program these probiotics should better be considered out of your food plan.
For example, researchers have found out that taking Lactobacillus acidophilus (27), a probiotic strain may actually lead you to gain weight instead of losing it.
In fact a recent study conducted on 4 controlled clinical trials on overweight and obese people, concluded that the probiotic did not help reduce their body weight, body fat or BMI.
Although this study needs further scientific confirmation or validation, it is always advisable to stay on safer grounds. Choose a probiotic that has been through much study and research, proven and effective to help you achieve your weight goals.
Probiotics May Just Be A Piece In A Puzzle
It is undeniable that probiotics offer us numerous and wide health benefits that make the body healthier. But probiotics is just but a piece in a puzzle.
It is known that differing probiotics have differing effects on the body and the aspect of weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance. Because of this fact, it becomes our responsibility to choose what is suitable for our needs. Do we want to lose weight and maintain it?
As to weight loss, there are probiotics with very effective health benefits including loss of excess abdominal fat and body weight. We are talking here of Lactobacillus gasseri. The probiotic blend of VSL#3 is actually safe and effective to use for this purpose. It has positively shown to reduce weight gain even on a high-calorie diet.
However, taking a good probiotic supplement is only a part of a holistic approach to health and fitness. Remedy should also be had to discontinue our harmful eating habits and sedentary lifestyles.
As has been said at the onset of this article, there should be a good balance of our diet which can include a good and effective probiotic for a healthy gut and digestive system and good exercise or physical activity to boost metabolism and strengthen the body.
There are many kinds of probiotics and each kind has different effects on weight loss or weight gain for that matter. Choose carefully or better yet opt for those formulations which are products of extensive research and known to be safe and effective.
But even granting that you like to take probiotics not for weight loss, you can still get the other health benefits of a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics can help improve your cardiovascular and digestive health, reduce inflammation and help ward off anxiety or depression. It can also help in the regular elimination of wastes from the body and seemingly break down too much stomach acids that cause nausea and vomiting.
TIPS on Nurturing Good Bacteria in the Gut
Nurture and help the useful bacteria already present in your digestive system. Try these helpful tips.
Eat Fiber Rich Food – fiber feed the good bacteria. Eat foods rich in fiber to nourish those useful bacteria that help boost our immune system, reduce our risk of chronic diseases and inflammation.
Eat Foods with Probiotics – good bacteria are easily found in fermented foods such as miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, water kefir or yogurt. Eat foods from these healthy sources to excellent digestive health. There are also probiotic supplements to do the trick such as the probiotic formulation of VSL#3.
Eat Less of Fried Foods and Animal Products – Red meat and fried foods hinder the growth of the useful bacteria in your gut. This would mean the growth instead of the harmful bacteria that can lead to chronic diseases. So limit your intake of red meat and fried foods. Eat more plant based food. These are naturally low in fat and often give better health benefits.
Use Antibiotics Only When Truly Necessary – antibiotics are known to kill bacteria, the good and harmful bacteria all together. Unless truly necessary, avoid taking antibiotics and ask for a more natural alternative when you condition can permit it.
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