What happens in the gut does not always stay in the gut. A growing body of research shows that when the digestive tract is in proper balance, often with the assistance of probiotics, the rest of the body can benefit as well. It seems that certain probiotics may even be able to help some individuals to attain their weight loss goals.
What are the Benefits of Probiotics for Weight Loss?
Certain studies are now finding that probiotics, whether those found in foods or supplements, may be able to help individuals to lose those extra pounds.
A research study that was published by Lay, et al, in the journal Nature found that the balance of good bacteria is different in those who are obese when compared to those who are leaner. As the obese participants in the study lost weight, the balance of this microbiota became more equalized, showing how excess stores of fat can affect digestive health.
This could make it appear that obesity, or the storage of excess adipose tissue, can negatively impact gut flora. Scientists are finding that this association may go both ways. By regulating the balance of the microbiome in the gut through the use of probiotics, individuals may be able to lose excess weight.
- Increased Fat Elimination
For some dieters, removing consumed fat from the body before it has a chance to do damage would be a great help. Probiotics may increase the amount of dietary fat that is released by the body through feces, according to the results of a study published in Lipds in Health and Disease by Japanese researchers.
Fat consumed by the subjects was not as easily digested for use or for storage by the body in those who were given certain probiotics, resulting in the excess consumed fat being eliminated by the body through the digestive tract.
As the fat was being emulsified through normal bodily processes, fat droplets were found to be larger in those who were given the specific probiotics. While the mechanism of action is unknown at this time, perhaps the larger droplets of fat are not able to be used as easily by the body, allowing them to be released as waste.
Taking the appropriate probiotics for weight loss could be beneficial for those who want to lose weight while eating a balanced diet to help prevent the accumulation of excess fat while they are trying to lose what they already have.
- Diminished Appetite
Those who have a hard time losing those extra pounds because they feel hungry all of the time might want to think about using probiotics for weight loss. It seems that certain probiotics may actually influence how satisfied you feel by regulating the way your body reacts to a hormone called leptin.
Leptin is produced by fat cells to let the brain know that there is enough stored away for energy. The brain can then signal the body to reduce the appetite. However, those who are obese may develop what is known as leptin resistance, where the brain can no longer properly identify those signals when leptin levels get way too high.
Research in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that probiotic supplementation helped leptin signals to reach the brain, allowing subjects to feel more satisfied after eating. In turn, this can help individuals to eat fewer calories to better help with weight loss.
- Decreased Fat Storage
While certain probiotics have been shown to move some of the extra fat that is consumed out of the body before it can cause problems, it appears that probiotics may help to reduce the amount of additional fat that is stored in the body. The reduction of increased fat stored occurred even with excess food intake.
Research by Osterberg, et al, published in the journal Obesity showed that those who were given a certain probiotic gained less weight while eating too many calories compared to those who were given a placebo. Another study shows how the good bacteria of the gut may affect this. Aronsson, et al, in a study published in PloS One, found that a certain protein can help to prevent the accumulation of fat within adipose tissue.
This protein is increased with a proper balance of the microbiome in the gut, effectively reducing how much consumed fat gets stored for later use. While these studies did not necessarily show the benefits of probiotics for weight loss, it showed that the use of probiotics can help with weight management by reducing the amount of extra calories that are stored as fat.
- Reduced Body Fat
Another way that probiotics have been shown as useful in regards to body weight is in their ability to reduce the amount of fat that is currently being stored by the body. This process actually begins in the gut, according to research by Omar, et al, that is published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
By increasing the number of specific good bacteria in the intestines through the use of supplementation of probiotics, researchers were able to induce a change in body composition in the subjects. The probiotics changed the way the body utilized food for energy, allowing for an increase in the use of existing fat stores for fuel. Individuals noted a decrease in body fat, specifically around the organs. The probiotics given in the study helped subjects to enjoy more weight loss, a healthier BMI, and loss of belly fat.
- Enhanced Metabolism
By equalizing the levels of beneficial bacteria that are found in the digestive tract, probiotics can help the body to function more effectively. The same study that showed probiotics may reduce the amount of fat that is already stored in the body draws interest in the ability of these same probiotics to increase metabolism.
A health metabolism continues to use calories, even when you are not exercising. Fat is a little more difficult for the body to digest, so many dieters find that they lose muscle over fat stores when eating a calorie-restricted diet.
Because probiotics may change how the body utilizes macronutrients for fuel, these beneficial bacteria can help the body to burn fat for fuel rather than the protein stored in muscle. Those who take probiotics with their healthy diet and exercise program may enjoy a higher calorie burn even during inactive periods.