You’ve probably heard of probiotics—the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your gut. These bacteria help maintain a healthy intestinal tract by outcompeting harmful bacteria for space and nutrients. Several studies suggest that adding probiotics to your daily routine may help to reduce body weight.
Does probiotic make you lose weight? Let’s take a look.
The Evidence So Far
Although there are a handful of small studies that have examined the effects of probiotics on body weight, most of the evidence currently exists in the form of rodent studies.
In one such study, Cani and colleagues put rats on either a standard or high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Some of the rats were also given probiotics, while others were given a placebo. After 12 weeks, the rats that received probiotics had lower body weights than those who didn’t receive the live bacteria.
The authors of the study suggest that probiotics may act by increasing GLP-1, an important hormone that helps glucose regulate blood sugar levels. In turn, low blood sugar levels may lead to weight loss. Similar benefits have been observed in rats that were fed with a high-fat diet, suggesting that probiotics could have a similar effect in humans as well.
What About Other Studies?
The evidence from human studies is somewhat conflicting. While several trials have found that probiotics may slightly help to reduce body weight, others have found that it had no significant effect. The discrepancy between these studies might be explained by the fact that different strains of probiotics were used, or by the fact that the studies had different lengths of follow-up. More research is needed to determine the exact role that probiotics play in body weight regulation.
When Should You Take Probiotics?
The evidence from rodent studies suggests that probiotics are most effective when administered either throughout the entire duration of a high-fat diet, or beginning immediately after the diet has been initiated. It doesn’t appear that there’s a specific time at which probiotics should be taken in order to maximize their effect on body weight. Furthermore, it is not clear whether probiotics should be taken in conjunction with or instead of a weight loss program.
However, it is generally agreed upon that taking probiotics daily, at the same time, can help to maintain healthy gut flora and may, therefore, have a beneficial effect on weight loss. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, eating a healthy diet and getting some exercise may be a more effective strategy than trying to take advantage of any specific weight loss product. Probiotics are generally considered safe and non-toxic when taken at recommended dosages. In some instances, individuals taking probiotics have reported side effects, such as diarrhea or bloating. If you experience these side effects, please consult with your personal physician and stop taking the product.
To answer the question does probiotic make you lose weight?, we might have to say, not necessarily. While most of the studies done so far have shown a positive effect of probiotics on body weight, it is still not exactly clear whether or not taking the bacteria will cause you to lose weight. This is where more research needs to be done.
For now, we might have to conclude that there is not enough evidence to suggest that probiotics make you lose weight. However, this does not mean that the bacteria are ineffective. On the contrary, the evidence so far suggests that they may have some beneficial effect in maintaining a healthy metabolism and helping to fight obesity. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your probiotics, consider consulting with your personal physician to see what strain they recommend for you.