Can taking probiotic supplements help you lose weight? For the last few years, there’s been a lot of hype about probiotics and their beneficial effect on gut health. The theory is, the more friendly bacteria in your gut, the less inflammation your body will have.
Having a healthier gut equals having a lower risk for developing metabolic disorders and autoimmune disease, as well as having a stronger immune system. But what about weight loss? Is there any evidence to suggest probiotic foods and supplements can actually help you lose weight?
Don’t Rely On Probiotics Alone
Let’s get something right out of the way. If you continue to eat lots of processed food, taking probiotics may not help very much in helping you achieve a healthier gut. You need to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to colonize your gut with prebiotic fiber.
Probiotics love to feast on prebiotic fiber. Without prebiotic fiber, probiotics won’t colonize in your gut. The billions of potentially-friendly bacteria will swim around your gut looking for something to eat but will eventually starve. And in their place, yeast that promote inflammation will dominate your gut, causing food allergies, bloating, constipation, brain fog and other symptoms of gut dysbiosis.
Another advantage to Miracle Noodle, besides being ultra low in calories and carbohydrates: our shirataki-style pasta is rich in prebiotic fiber. By feeding the beneficial bacteria, the prebiotic fiber in Miracle Noodle and fresh fruits and vegetables serve as the catalyst for your body breaking down fiber and releasing appetite-regulating hormones.
Gut Dysbiosis & Weight Gain
One of the most fascinating developments in weight loss research is the connection between gut health and obesity. But because this research is in its relative infancy, much is still yet unknown between this link. What is known, however, is that people with obesity lack certain bacterial strains.
And if you lack specific strains that help the body activate hormones that control satiety, your body may store extra body fat.
If people with normal body weight have different bacterial strains in their gut than people with obesity, it would stand to reason that probiotic supplements are effective for weight loss—provided that diet and exercise are part of an overall weight loss strategy. But is there any evidence to support this?
Probiotics That May Help You Lose Weight
If you’re shopping for a probiotic supplement, just as with any other unregulated dietary supplement, not all are created equal. Do your due diligence before purchasing. Use a third-party research company such as ConsumerLab.com to see which products are safe and effective.
With probiotic supplements, the main issue is will the bacteria survive the highly acidic environment of the gut? For this reason, probiotic supplements contain billions of friendly gut bacteria per serving; some health experts recommend a supplement with at least 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).
So what are the best strains for weight loss, according to research?
Bifidobacterium is one of them. Specifically, the strain Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 was found to be helpful for people with metabolic syndrome. People with obesity lost weight and experienced a lower body-mass index (BMI). But there were more than just cosmetic changes. Blood lipid levels, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and other inflammatory markers were also reduced.
But before you click “add to cart” for this probiotic, keep in mind that it’s better to take several different strains of good bacteria as opposed to a single one. In other research studies that have shown promise for weight loss, Bifidobacterium was combined with Lactobacillus.
According to this meta-analysis of probiotics for obesity, the following combination of probiotics in yogurt was effective over the course of eight weeks for lowering body weight and BMI:
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Enterococcus faecalis
A Winning Combination For Weight Loss: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
Not all research studies on probiotics for weight loss are promising. Some studies conclude they are not effective. However, the preliminary research, such as the study mentioned above, shows that the most promise combines Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This is especially true of L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. lactis, B. bifidum, and B. lactis (“L.” is short for lactobacillus; “B.” is short for and Bifidobacterium.)
By consuming this probiotic blend for 8 weeks, women with obesity demonstrated lower fatty tissue in the abdominal area.
Research with “L” and “B” probiotics also shows improved blood sugar metabolism, triglycerides, LDL, cholesterol, insulin levels and other metabolic markers.
“Next-Gen” Weight Loss Probiotics
Saccharomyces Boulardii, Enterobacter halii, and Akkermansia muciniphila may sound like a mouthful. But there’s a good reason why you may want to swallow a mouthful of these probiotics.
These strains of probiotics are the subjects of recent research, and show great promise for anti-obesity applications. S. Bouldari, the first one, is especially interesting. It’s the only probiotic strain of yeast. Yeast gets a bad reputation. (See: candida albicans.) However, like bacteria, your gut should have an ideal number of yeast microorganisms.
In one study on obese and diabetic mice, A. muciniphila, the third next-gen probiotic listed above, actually reversed obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. While this shows great potential, these results have not been proven in humans.
But here’s even more reason to be optimistic about this next-gen probiotic: it may increase the mucus layer thickness in the gut back to a level comparable to lean mice. This means that due to its ability to reduce gut permeability and inflammation, this probiotic can also be very effective for gut health.Other promising probiotics for weight loss include the lactic acid, L. gasseri, as well as another “next-gen” bacteria, Roseburia intestinalis. Probiotic supplements, over the course of the next several years, may prove to be effective in treating obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. However, they shouldn’t be considered a stand-alone treatment.