Probiotics have been shown to improve gut health, but can they help us to lose weight? Today we are looking at probiotics for weight management, how it works, and things to be aware of.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that support the balance of good bacteria in our gut. They offer several health benefits and come in many different types. The most common types of probiotic bacteria are lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, often found in dairy products such as kefir and yogurt.
Health benefits of taking probiotics:
- Improves digestion
- Reduces inflammation
- Strengthens immune system
- Aids mental wellbeing
- Assists healthy weight loss
How probiotics work with our BMI
The results of studies so far showing direct links between probiotics and fat loss are actually fairly poor. They are not a weight loss pill by any means, but the indirect effects of shifting the bacterial balance in the gut using probiotics can assist with healthy weight management.
So, are probiotics worth it when it comes to burning fat?
Yes. Probiotics have an indirect but fascinating effect on body fat, because when you change the environment in your gut, you change the way your body metabolizes food.
Scientists conducted an interesting study on overweight mice that had gastric bypass surgery. After the surgery, scientists noticed that the microbiome of the mice had changed to that of a lean mouse. Following this discovery, they took some of the intestinal bacteria from the gastric bypass mice and transplanted it into the guts of overweight mice. The result? The mice rapidly lost weight.
Human microbiomes have also been studied and found that lean people have different mixes of gut bacteria to those of obese people. This suggests that although probiotic bacteria themselves may not directly affect weight loss, they can alter the microbiome to facilitate healthy weight balance.
How long does it take to work?
Probiotics for weight management is not an overnight solution. How long it takes to see results really depends on the rest of your diet. If we eat lots of carbohydrates and sugary foods with little fiber, it will counteract any benefits from probiotics. This is because carbs the body processes carbs into sugar, and sugar feeds the bad bacteria in our gut. By keeping sugar and refined carbs to a minimum and taking probiotics, you will see results much quicker.
Feed the good bacteria.
To get the best results from your probiotics, feed the good bacteria with prebiotics alongside a healthy diet.
Prebiotics are fiber that feeds the probiotic bacteria. Our body is unable to digest fiber, but our gut bacteria can. So, when you eat a fiber rich snack or meal, you are feeding the good bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria then ‘eat’ the fiber and essentially ‘micro poop’ byproducts that benefit our health and reduce inflammation.
Prebiotic fiber can be found in foods such as raw garlic, raw onions, asparagus, bananas, oats, apples, flax seeds, chicory root, and dandelion greens.
Things to consider before trying probiotics for weight management:
- Don’t look for the cheapest brand. They may contain hidden sugar or be low-quality probiotic bacteria.
- Some of the most common types of probiotics are unable to survive passing through the stomach acid. Choose a hardy, broad-spectrum probiotic such as Bacillus subtilis.
- Probiotics are measured in CFUs (colony forming units). Higher CFUs does not necessarily mean more effective. The main thing is finding one that works well with your body.
- Some probiotic supplements lose their benefits if they are out of refrigeration. Choose one that is shelf stable like the Probiotic 10 Billion. That way you can keep them with you everywhere and you can ensure they won’t lose quality during transport.
Never before has it been easier to influence and change the environment in your gut. When you do this, your body metabolizes food in a different way, you absorb nutrients better, and weight management becomes easier.
Check out our blog for more health benefits of probiotics and other natural wellness tips.