Probiotics for Weight Loss
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Being overweight or obese is a serious health concern as it can lead to multiple health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, difficulty in breathing, etc.
An unhealthy diet and bad lifestyle choices are the leading cause of obesity. Hence, most of your weight-related issues can be tackled by eating healthy and adopting an active lifestyle.
However, if you are not able to achieve your weight loss goals despite strict diet and lifestyle changes then you should consider seeking extra help.
Probiotics are popular supplements that can help you in your weight loss journey and will also provide you with other benefits including stronger immunity, reduced severity of allergies, and decreased cholesterol levels.
Follow the article below to know more about probiotics and their role in weight loss.
Probiotics are a group of beneficial microorganisms that include bacteria, fungi (yeast), and protozoa. These organisms are naturally present in your body and work together as a diverse community to keep you healthy.
Just like good bacteria, there are also, bad bacteria residing in your body. The main function of probiotics is to maintain a balance between these two. Other functions of probiotics include:
- Aid in the digestion of food
- Produce vitamins
- Support the cells lining your gut
- Boost immunity
- Lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases
Probiotics are generally present in fermented foods but can also be found in different fruits and vegetables and other food products.
Below is a list of different food items that can be consumed as a rich source of probiotics:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chia seeds
These above-mentioned foods can provide you with the daily dose of probiotics but if you are someone who doesn’t like these food items or looking for something that is easy to include in your daily routine then probiotic supplements can be the answer to your quest.
PROBIOTICS AND WEIGHT LOSS
There are mainly two families of friendly bacteria found within the gut: bacteriodetes and firmicutes. Your body weight is linked to the balance of these two families of good bacteria.
Overweight and obese people tend to have more firmicutes and fewer becteriodetes. The diversity of gut bacteria also differs among obese and lean individuals. Obese people usually have less diverse gut bacteria than moderate-weight people.
Hence, probiotics supplements can help you lose weight by enhancing the diversity of gut bacteria and other mechanisms some of which are explained below:
PRODUCTION OF SHORT-CHAIN FATTY ACIDS
Consumption of probiotic supplements can help your body to break down fibers that it normally cannot digest. Probiotics convert fiber into short-chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
This phenomenon increases the oxidation of fatty acids and decreases the storage of fat within the body. As a result, you begin to lose weight effectively.
INHIBIT ABSORPTION OF DIETARY FATS
Apart from decreasing the storage of fat probiotics can also inhibit the absorption of fat. Consequently the excretion of fats through feces increases.
In this way, your body absorbs fewer calories as compared to what you consume and you can lose weight more easily.
Probiotics regulate your appetite by releasing hormones such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY). Increased levels of these appetite-regulating hormones burn calories and fat and help you lose weight quickly.
Probiotics can also promote the release of other appetite-regulating hormones and prevent overeating which is one of the causes of obesity.
INCREASE LEVELS OF FAT-REGULATING PROTEINS
Among all the food groups fat is the main culprit when it comes to being overweight or obese. Hence, it is necessary to limit its intake, absorption, and storage.
Limiting the intake of fat can be achieved by eating healthy and less oily foods. However, for limiting the absorption and storage of fats you might need the help of probiotic supplements.
Probiotics increase the levels of fat-regulating proteins such as angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4). These proteins then decrease the storage of fat within your body consequently resulting in a drop in your body weight.
Chronic inflammation is also linked to obesity. Probiotic supplements help to keep the lining of your gut healthy and hence reduce systemic inflammation. As a result, not only does the risk of obesity decrease but also of the other conditions that are associated with systemic and chronic inflammation.
PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN
Preventing weight gain is as essential as losing weight. If you lose weight by following a strict diet and strenuous workout schedule then you must take measures to prevent weight gain otherwise all your effort might go in vain.
Hence a probiotic supplement will come in handy in your weight loss journey as it will not only help you lose weight but also prevent weight gain in the future.
PROBIOTIC STRAINS THAT PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS
Although all kinds of probiotics help to lose weight by regulating appetite, decreasing fat absorption and storage, and reducing inflammation. But there are specific families of probiotics that are more efficient than others when it comes to promoting weight loss.
Some of the weight loss friendly families of probiotics are described below:
Lactobacillus is one of the most popular families of probiotics. Research has shown that the lactobacillus family can significantly reduce body weight, body mass index (BMI), and fat percentage.
Researchers also identified the potential of lactobacillus in reducing weight size.
Types of lactobacillus that aid in weight loss are:
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus amylovorus
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Lactobacillus sakei
Bifidobacterium is another family of probiotics that has shown significant weight loss potential via research. They can help you get rid of belly fat and decrease body mass index both of which are risk factors for multiple disorders like diabetes and heart diseases.
The two most common types of bifidobacterium that can help you lose weight are:
- Bifidobacterium animalis
The main function of this strain of probiotic is to prevent weight gain. It allows people from gaining weight even when they are consuming a considerable amount of calories and a diet that is rich in fat.
SIDE EFFECTS OF PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are good bacteria and usually do not have any adverse effects on your body but sometimes people might experience the following side effects:
- Unpleasant digestive symptoms – Probiotics can sometimes cause gas and bloating temporarily. Yeast-based probiotics may also lead to constipation and increased thirst.
These symptoms subside typically in a week or two but in case you continue to experience these symptoms then discontinue the use of the probiotic supplement and consult your doctor.
- Headaches – Certain probiotics contain biogenic amines i.e. chemical substances formed when protein-containing foods are fermented by bacteria.
Common biogenic amines are histamine, tyramine, tryptamine, and phenylethylamine.
These amines excite the central nervous system in a way that triggers headaches in people who are sensitive to these chemical substances.
- Allergic reactions – Probiotic supplements may sometime contain allergens such as dairy, egg, soy, and lactose. These ingredients can trigger an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to mentioned substances.
Hence, it is recommended to carefully read the label and look out for any ingredient that you might be allergic to.
Yeast-based probiotic supplements may also cause allergic reactions in people with yeast allergies. In that case, one can opt for a bacteria-based probiotic supplement.
- Infections – In very rare cases probiotics can enter the bloodstream and cause infections, especially in people with a suppressed immune system, prolonged history of hospitalization, venous catheters, and those who have recently undergone any surgery.
INTERACTIONS OF PROBIOTICS WITH MEDICATIONS
Drug interactions may affect the therapeutic action of medicines and may also increase their side effects. The drugs that commonly interact with probiotics are antibiotics and antifungal drugs.
Hence, it is advised to consult with your doctor when consuming probiotics and these drugs simultaneously.
IN A NUTSHELL
Obesity is a matter of growing concern as it is associated with different health conditions like heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, sleep disorders, arthritis, etc.
Hence, everyone should take their body weight, body mass index, and waist size seriously. If you are also someone who is overweight then you can try to lose weight through diet and lifestyle modifications.
Furthermore, probiotic supplements can help you lose weight as they release fat-regulating proteins and decrease the absorption and storage of fat. Probiotics also promote weight loss by regulating appetite and reducing systemic inflammation.
Not only probiotic supplements will help you lose weight but also prevent weight gain in the future.
It is recommended to speak, with your healthcare provider before starting probiotic supplements especially if you are taking medications for any underlying health condition.