How to Lose Weight Fast with Probiotics: Science or Make-Believe?

Looks are important in a society mostly focused on that. We are judged if we are too thin, too fat or if we do not fit in the “normal” standards imposed by others. So researchers are always trying to find faster and better ways to make us feel better about ourselves

Nowadays, there is a solution to almost everything concerning our body. If we are too thin, there are ways of getting you faster and if you are fat, well, there are diets or supplements that promise you the results wanted.

One of this is a professional study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition and led by Professor Angelo Tremblay at the University Laval in Quebec, Canada. The study claims that the probiotic use can help with weight loss and revolutionize obesity medication.

  1. What are Probiotics

The World Health Organization has come to the conclusion that probiotics can be sum up as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. [1]

Now, for everybody to understand, Probiotics are microscopic bacteria that we eat and may have beneficial values to our heath. We have more than 100 trillion microorganisms or friendly bacteria in the intestines and they create our gut flora or gut microbiome. They are also known to produce critical nutrients to the body as well as vitamin K and certain B-vitamins. [2]

  1. How do Gut bacteria influences weight gain and loss?

Scientists have concluded that a healthy gut is essential for those looking to lose weight. And it does not stop here. The balance of the gut flora can help our gastrointestinal tract to function generally, help us fight infections and establish a healthy metabolism as well as compose approximately 75% of our immune system.(1) Yes, it is that essential for our body. Any significant modification in the gut flora has been related to diseases like autism, depression or autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.[3]

An example of a disturbance in the balance would be related to the use of antibiotics (antonyms for probiotics). When antibiotics are used, they are used to kill all bacteria present in the body, not just the bad ones, but all of it completely. That is why the antibiotics are not recommended by doctors to be used in the long term and can lead to other serious illnesses. To fight that side effect coming from antibiotics, probiotics are gaining more and more attention on this topic and are considered as a real ally in restoring and also keeping the balance intact within the gut flora that contains the good bacteria.

It seems that they can do wonders for our bodies. But let us analyze a bit from the scientifically part also and establish how exactly do gut bacteria influences weight gain and loss.

  1. Studies on Probiotics and weight loss: British Journal of Nutrition

We know that there were many studies done on this topic. One of it was written by Professor Angelo Tremblay in the British Journal of Nutrition and involves the two essential groups of healthy bacteria present in the gut: bacteroids and firmicutes which are responsible for fluctuations in the body weight. Numerous studies done on rodents were able to prove that there is considerable evidence to link gut bacteria from obese mice to lean mice that rapidly gained fat cells when playing with the proportions of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. [4] In the study done on TLR5 deficient mice, the rodents that had harmful germs in their guts also showed a boost in their hunger and consumed 10 percent more meals than their regular species.[5]

This resulted in their metabolism being affected too causing in some causes diabetes and obesity. When they were given smaller portions and lowering their concentrations, their weight dropped and was in control however they suffered from insulin resistance by enhancing the production of insulin.

Probiotics may reduce the number of calories you ingest from your meals. They also alter animal and human hormones and proteins associated with appetite and fat stored as human fat tissue (triglycerides).[6] They may also reduce low-grade inflammation in the cells, which can then lead to obesity. More research is needed to be done on how much power do probiotics have to impact the energy balance within the gut flora and weight gain and fully understand its findings and what they mean for the human body.

Another study took place on 125 overweight men and women and expanded over a period of 24 weeks. The weight loss diet was planned for 12 weeks followed by another 12 weeks of a “weight maintenance” diet. Probiotics from the Lactobacillus Rhamnosus family were used in the testing’s on half of the 125 subjects and indicated that two pills to be provided per day.  The other half were given the inactive substance also known as placebo.

 So, we wonder, after 24 weeks, what were the after-effects?

It turns out that after 12 weeks, the women that were using the probiotic pills lost an astonishing 4.4 kg comparing to just a 2.6 kg for the fake medicine group. And it only gets better: during the 12 weeks maintenance diet program the probiotic group lost a whopping 5.2 kilograms per person, which is about double the pounds that the placebo group lost.

That is indeed an accomplishment for researchers: now we know based on the facts showed that combining probiotics with a healthy diet can lead to pretty substantial weight loss. And if you also add another ingredient to that recipe of probiotics like daily workouts it will for sure intensify and control the weight loss process and in no time the fat belly will decrease considerably.

  1. How to keep and mind the healthy gut flora

For us to be healthy and maintain a normal weight as we go along, we have learned that we also need to take a special care of the gut flora. The balance can easily be disturbed in our everyday life by the following factors:

  • Antibiotics and other medications
  • Stress
  • Infections
  • Sugar, adjusted foods and high in carbohydrates,
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers

Particular attention needs to be brought upon infants that are not breastfed and are not able to take the right bacteria from the mother’s milk but also mothers that already have bad gut flora and are more likely exposed to generate unhealthy gut bacteria.[7]

So the answer to keeping a healthy gut is to avoid all of the factors presented above. We know that we do live stressful lives and sometimes the answer might not be directly in front of us, so when that situation is encountered, we can follow some healthy steps to help us through with restoring the gut flora:

  • Take out the food toxins from your meals
  • Eat plenty of oats and barley, as well as fruits and vegetables
  • Try to consume high-quality probiotic foods or supplements but make sure to consult a physician before you start a diet.
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens that might create diseases.
  • Take steps to help manage and reduce your stress levels

  1. Lactobacillus Gasseri strains and the anti-obesity effects

The tests were done on Lactobacillus, the probiotic strain ‘classified’ as Firmicutes have confirmed that this bacteria has proven anti-obesity effects and the combination of probiotics called VSL# is the most popular one when it comes to losing some extra pounds and the belly fat. Another research on that topic was conducted in Japan on 210 people that were overweight, especially fat around the belly area of the body and the results were impressive. It turns out that by consuming Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 whole weeks the body weight became smaller, the fat shrieked and so did the waist size and hip circumference.[8]

Overall, the belly fat was reduced by 8.5%. As soon as the participants stopped taking the probiotic, all that they have lost previously was added back onto their bodies and even more. The Probiotics will never have the effect desired if they are not also combined with a healthy, real food-based diet and daily exercise routines.

  1. Food sources and supplements of Lactobacillus gasseri

One of the sources for Lactobacillus gasseri can be found inside the mother’s milk when breastfeeding and is considered as a natural booster for the infant’s immune system. However as adults we do not rely on the breast milk anymore so we need to find out what other sources we can find for Lactobacillus gasseri.

Look no more cause one of it can be found naturally in the fermented foods. Lactic acid fermentation is known as the most ‘healthful’ type, and typically uses Lactobacillus bacteria to speed the process further. And the progress was showed in a recent study conducted on overweight dieters and it stated that eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus can help you lose the belly fat and Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements are the most efficient in maintaining the weight loss.

We can conclude that some strains have shown indeed remarkable results in preventing weight gain on a high-calorie diet however since this field is still unexplored further clinical trials are still conducted to find out more about the benefits of probiotics.

  1. Top 5 All-Natural Sources of Healthy Probiotics

We have established that probiotics can be of great help when losing weight or trying to maintain the weight loss. The probiotic market has a broad range of capsules, liquids and foods to better address our body’s needs. Of course, everybody can choose how they prefer to take them however bear in mind that probiotic dietary supplements have not 100% scientifically proven their safety and effectiveness. For someone that already has their immune system compromised is not a smart move to consume probiotics without the doctor’s approval.

In this case, they might do more harm than good. Solid answers have not been yet provided on how often and for how long the probiotics need to be ingested for the results actually to show in our body. Plus, they are not reachable for everybody regarding costs.

So let’s search deeper and deeper and see where we can found and pick the natural sources of Healthy Probiotics in our foods that make a difference.

The first item on our list that has been praised by so many over the years for its beneficial results is: yogurt. It contains loads of friendly bacteria, at least 100 million cultures per gram, which are added after the milk is pasteurized and afterwards it is checked to make sure that the bacteria is still active in the content.  Some products might have more or less live active cultures that should be stated on the label so make sure to read it and choose the best for you. Some people were able to improve their bone health, ease their diarrhea caused by antibiotics and decrease high blood pressure.

The second one from the list comes all the way from Russia and Turkey, from the same milky family and it is called Kefir. Some researchers state that it is even healthier than normal yogurt and can easily be added in different smoothie recipes.  Or you can just consume it as it is if you do not mind the tangy taste that might not go too well for small children. It can do wonders in preventing infections and it can also be consumed by people with lactose intolerance.

The third one from the list is called Sauerkraut which describes cut, fermented cabbage and is mostly eaten in Europe. It contains a lot of healthy vitamins like C, B and K, minerals and antioxidants. The sauerkraut needs to be unpasteurized for all the good bacteria to be kept alive and active.

Another item that tops our list is the fermented cheese that contains live and active cultures. We can find it in Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese and is good for the heart and the bone structure.

Last but not least, the probiotic food that closes our list is named pickles and they are cucumbers drained in a solution of salt and water. They are left to ferment a period and because of the good bacteria developing the solution, they are excellent for our digestive health. They can be used when dieting and trying to lose some extra pounds because they are low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin K which is essential in treating blood clots.

Conclusions:

Overall, based on the clinical trials conducted we have learned that there is a development that connects our gut bacteria, probiotics and weight loss. But for the results to show considerably, they need to be also matched with a healthy lifestyle.

No miracle can occur when it comes to shedding some extra pounds and without a diet based mostly on fermented foods and without a regular exercise regime no magic will happen. Everything is possible if you set your mind to it and invest further in knowing all the facts. Sure, you can try probiotics and it might or might not work with the weight loss. But based on the evidence obtained, they might be beneficial in the long term.

Probiotic References   [ + ]

1, 2, 3. http://www.dietvsdisease.org/probiotics-and-weight-loss-review/
4. https://chriskresser.com/a-healthy-gut-is-the-hidden-key-to-weight-loss/
5. http://www.probioticsguide.com/probiotics-for-weight-loss
6. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186
7. http://paleoleap.com/eat-probiotic-foods/
8. http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/29273
Lucy Martinez