You’ve no doubt seen a lot of claims from manufacturers of probiotics, but most of them have focused on digestive health, such as reducing the chances you’ll suffer from issues like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and others. But did you know there’s scientific evidence showing that a probiotic can slim you down as well? Let’s take a look at what research says.
Probiotics – The Basics
First, let’s take a broad view of what probiotics are, and how they work. Probiotics, in a nutshell, are beneficial microbes. While there are a few types of yeast that are classified as probiotics, most of the good microbes in the gut, or gastrointestinal tract, are various strains of bacteria.
You likely have no idea this is happening in your gut, but there’s a very intense battle being waged between beneficial microbes and pathogenic, or harmful, bacteria. These “bad” bacteria are the ones that can do damage to not only the digestive system, but your overall health as well. When the bad microbes outnumber the good, you’ll not only be at a higher risk for gut issues such as diarrhea and IBS, you could also be at risk for a weakened immune system. If that happens, you’ll be extremely susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses.
That’s why it’s so important that you maintain a proper balance between good and bad microbes in the gut. You can get probiotics from a number of different foods, but you need to take supplements in order to ensure you have an ample supply. This is especially true if you take antibiotics. While these powerful drugs have helped millions of people, they have the unfortunate side effect of killing not only harmful bacteria, but good ones as well. Stress can also deplete our supply of beneficial microbes.
But How Can My Probiotic Slim Me Down?
There are a lot of roles that beneficial microbes play, and one of them is helping to regulate our weight. Some strains of bacteria help to break down fibers in the food we eat and turn them into vital fatty acids. While it’s not entirely clear how good bacteria do this, researchers theorize that by increasing our probiotic intake we can store food more efficiently. 1,2
Research into how a probiotic can slim the waist is in its very early stages. However, there are some indications that certain strains of good bacteria may have more of an effect on weight than previously thought. One study, for example, involved participants who ate yogurt enriched with the Lactobacillus amylovorus and Lactobacillus fermentum bacterial strains every day for six weeks. According to the results, the participants lost an average of 3-4 percent body fat during this time.3
Another study involved 125 women who were on a diet. One group took a placebo, while the other received a supplement containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria. After three months, researchers found that women taking the probiotic to slim down lost, on average, 50 percent more weight than the women who only took the placebo.4
Another probiotic to slim the waist that is showing promising results is Lactobacillus gasseri. Researchers conducted a two-week study involving a group of 30 men. Half of them drank regular milk, while the other half drank milk containing the bacterium. The researchers took fecal samples of all the men before the study, and then did so again afterward. They found that the group drinking the milk containing the Lactobacillus gasseri strain had more fat in their stools than the group that drank regular milk. What this means is that the men who consumed the probiotic eliminated more fat from their bodies than did the other group.5
Use Common Sense
While there is a growing amount of evidence that you might be able to use a probiotic to slim down, you’ll still need to be sensible about your weight loss plan. You can’t eat 20 chicken wings or slices of cake every day and think you’ll be OK if you take a probiotic capsule. It’s still critically important that you eat right and get plenty of exercise.
It might sound boring, but the tried-and-true methods of sustainable weight loss are still the most effective.
Before you start any sort of diet, or take any probiotic to slim down, talk to your doctor first about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. You have to be as safe as possible when trying to lose weight, and your doctor will let you know the best course of action to take.