Do you eat yogurt on a daily basis to get more beneficial bacteria into your system? Or, do you take a probiotic supplement to support digestion and boost immunity?
Now, a new study suggests that there may be an even more compelling reason to continue consuming your daily probiotics. Weight control.
Gaining Weight? Why Gut Microbes May be to Blame
It is well established that probiotics have a beneficial effect on regulating the immune system and preventing diarrhea. But, researchers wanted to investigate whether probiotics have an effect on body weight and BMI. Some studies have shown a beneficial effect while others have shown little effect.
“The review showed that probiotics promote weight loss and reduce BMI. Improvement was greatest among overweight and obese participants when the probiotic administration lasted more than 8 weeks. And, a greater effect was seen in consuming multiple rather than single species of probiotics.”
To answer this question, researchers identified more than 500 studies involving probiotics and their effect on Body Mass Index (BMI) or body weight. They winnowed down the list to 25 human trials, involving nearly 2,000 healthy adult participants. The study investigators then combined the findings from this group of trials.
Although a control group was used by each trial, there was some variability in study design. Eight trials used just one species of probiotics; the rest used multiple species. The total daily dose varied from 100,000 to 100 billion Colony Forming Units (CFUs). And, the timing of studies varied from 3 weeks to 24 weeks, with an average of 8 weeks.
Probiotics – The New Weight Loss Solution?
Based on their analyses, the researchers found that probiotics reduced body weight and BMI. Delving deeper, the scientists found that ingesting more than one type of probiotic and taking probiotics for 8 or more weeks resulted in increased weight loss, particularly in those who were overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) or obese (BMI >30.0)
Gut Bacteria and Obesity
In the past two decades, the rate of obese and overweight adults (and children and teens) has climbed.
In an effort to better understand why, researchers have conducted a large number of studies which examine the relationship between probiotic intake and weight loss. These studies have established a solid link between the gut microbiome and obesity and suggest that gut bacteria play a fundamental role in weight management.
Importantly, we’ve learned that having a diverse gut microbiome is associated with leanness. In fact, individuals with low bacterial diversity are more likely to be overweight, have insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol levels.
What Species Support Weight Loss?
But, not all gut bacteria are treated equally. Some gut bacteria promote obesity while others promote leanness.
Here’s a list of several Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species that clinical studies have found support weight loss:
In a 2015 study, adults taking a B. breve probiotic had a lowered fat mass compared with placebo group at week 12.
In a 2013 study, women who took a L. rhamnosus probiotic for 12 weeks had higher mean weight loss at 24 weeks than controls. Women in the probiotic group continued to lose body weight and fat mass during the following 12-week weight-maintenance period.
In a 2013 study, type 2 diabetics given a L. gasseri probiotic for 12 weeks had decreased fat mass (visceral and subcutaneous) and BMI.
In a 2013 pilot study of obese hypertensive patients, a 1,500 calorie a day diet supplemented with a L. plantarum helped to reduce BMI and blood pressure, recognized symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
What can you do to support a healthy weight? Consider taking a weight loss supplement like LeanBiotics Probiotic, which is formulated with the four species above plus two additional Bifidobacterium species, plus adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle. This is the one-two punch that will help you achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.