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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Probiotics for Weight Loss: A Match Made in the Gut

Probiotics for Weight Loss: A Match Made in the Gut

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 21, 2023
5 min read 779 Views 0 Comments
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Probiotic supplements are designed to support digestion, but can they promote weight loss? Strengthening your gut could be one way to lose stubborn weight. We determine whether probiotics are suitable for weight loss and ways they could boost the fat-burning process.

Probiotics for weight loss

Probiotic supplements have many health benefits for the human body. 

Some people take them to reduce bloating, while others use them for weight loss. There have been countless research studies that state how probiotics could help you drop belly fat. 

Of course, supplements work differently for everyone, but they’re worth trying if you want that extra push on your weight loss journey. Understanding more about how they work and their role in fat reduction could help you make a final decision before purchasing some. 

Keep reading to discover whether probiotics really support weight loss.

Probiotics for Weight Loss: Can They Help You Reach Your Goals?

Yes, probiotic supplements can help you lose weight. Certain active strains can replenish the bacteria in your gut that supports nutrient absorption. The more nutrients you consume, the more energy your metabolism will have to burn calories efficiently.

A study found that taking a probiotic supplement daily can lower your body fat percentage. This is because they help break down food and create vitamins for the body to use. A healthy digestive system gives your metabolism the energy it needs to burn stubborn body weight.  

Too many bad microorganisms in the gut can lead to dysbiosis – an imbalance that weakens digestion. Research shows that dysbiosis could encourage the development of obesity. Some believe this is due to bad bacteria that store dietary fats instead of breaking them down. 

Just remember that probiotics won’t burn fat directly. You can achieve your weight loss goals by going for long-distance runs and eating a healthy diet. Probiotic supplements are there to support gut health, which could indirectly speed up your metabolism and fat-burning functions.

How Do Probiotics Affect Body Weight?

Probiotics cannot directly influence your body weight, but they can change the way your gut absorbs important nutrients. They can prevent the absorption of dietary fat from foods, which naturally increases the amount of fat that gets excreted through feces. 

Some research suggests that probiotics could change your appetite and energy levels. Feeling less hungry means you won’t snack or binge eat often. The fewer processed foods you eat on your low-calorie diet, the fewer the chances of experiencing weight gain or slow weight loss. 

The same study explains how probiotics release short-chain fatty acids. These metabolites accumulate through the production of propionate, butyrate, and acetate. Once your body has these fatty acids, your energy levels will be higher, leading to more regular exercise. 

Certain supplements may also increase protein angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) – a fat-regulating protein that controls your body mass index. More of these proteins decreases fat storage and production from eating food, which means you won’t absorb too many calories on a diet. 

Which Probiotic Strain Is Best for Weight Loss?

Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are two strains that support weight loss. They have shown the most results in countless research studies. You should choose supplements containing these active bacteria strains if you wish to gain health benefits. 

A study proves that eating yogurt or consuming a probiotic with lactobacillus fermentum could reduce your body fat by 3–4% over 6 weeks. This type of strain feeds your gut with helpful bacteria, meaning you are more likely to absorb nutrients that boost the metabolic rate. 

Researchers have also tested lactobacillus gasseri for weight loss. They discovered that people lost 8.2–8.5% of their belly fat after 12 weeks of consuming the strain. You can increase how much weight you lose by exercising regularly and following a meal plan like the keto diet.

Bifidobacterium is less popular when it comes to losing weight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Some reports show that bifidobacterium holds anti-obesity effects. It can also reduce low-density lipoprotein – a bad type of cholesterol that contributes to unhealthy weight gain. 

Do Probiotics Help Flatten Your Stomach?

Probiotics can support weight loss, but they won’t directly flatten your stomach. You need to exercise and eat nutrient-dense foods to see those results. Supplements encourage your body to store less fat, which could reduce the fat around your belly. 

One benefit of probiotics is that they can reduce bloating and constipation. They balance the natural bacteria in your stomach, leading to less gas production and inflammation. Bloating can look like fat around the belly due to the inflated appearance, but there’s a difference between fat and swelling.

To lose lower and upper belly fat, drink more water and exercise 3–4 times a week. Consuming probiotics can boost your progress but won’t cause weight loss. Instead, focus on morning walks or eating high-protein foods like chicken, eggs, lean beef, and cheese. 

Do Probiotics Make You Gain Weight?

There are some strains that could make you gain weight. Even though it’s not common, certain people may react differently to the supplements. If you struggle with weight management while taking probiotic strains, stop using them on your current diet. 

Research suggests that lactobacillus acidophilus might cause weight gain. This strain alters your gut bacteria to the point of cellular growth. People who experience cellular growth will have a larger cell mass, which changes the way fat looks on the arms, stomach, face, legs, and neck. 

However, some people could lose weight while taking this probiotic. You have unique gut bacteria that could react differently to dietary supplements. The only way you can determine your own body fat mass is by measuring your waist in the morning before having breakfast. 

There is also a chance you mistake weight gain for bloating. Eating the right food or being dehydrated bloats up your stomach and causes that uncomfortable feeling. Just remember that bloating goes away and is not a sign that your body weight or fat percentage has increased. 

Do probiotics make you hungry? 

Some probiotics could make you feel hungry. This depends on the bacteria you have in your gut before taking the supplements. Sudden changes to your gut microbiome can trigger temporary side effects like increased hunger and excess gas production. 

Feeling hungry while taking probiotics isn’t a common occurrence. There’s a chance you’re eating too little when trying to lose some weight. Make sure you’re consuming 1,500 calories or above to sustain high energy levels and keep the bacteria in your gut functioning properly. 

Hunger could also be a sign that the probiotics are working. It just takes time for gut bacteria to balance out and work at improving digestive health. Of course, if this hunger worsens over time, just stop taking those supplements and opt for something else that contains a different strain. 

Some other side effects of probiotics include:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence 
  • Nausea 
  • Possible allergies 
  • Headaches 
  • Cramps 
  • Increased thirst  

A Word From a Nutritionist

Probiotic supplements have many long-term benefits. Most people take them to strengthen their gut, while others need something for their weight loss journey. They are great for both instances, but you have to remember that losing weight requires regular exercise and a low-calorie diet.

You could also eat fermented foods to gain the same effects. Some foods comprise plain yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, sourdough bread, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut. These contain more natural strains of probiotic bacteria and can even boost the short-chain fatty acids in your body.

For those with irritable bowel syndrome, probiotics might trigger side effects. Therefore, consume fiber-rich foods or fiber supplements to gain similar weight loss benefits. Dietary fiber reduces your appetite, regulates bowel movements, controls blood sugar levels, and lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Consult with a medical professional if you experience side effects. Doctors can suggest suitable probiotics that cater to your needs and preferences. Also, be aware of allergic reactions that cause skin rashes, severe itching, swollen throat, chest pain, diarrhea, or watery eyes.

Conclusion

There are certain probiotics that can help you lose weight. You should choose lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains if you want to shed a few pounds. Remember that probiotics won’t burn fat directly since they only reduce the number of dietary fats you absorb from eating food.

Consider going for more runs or walks to reduce your body weight. The outstanding health benefits eliminate stubborn fat while boosting the immune system. Probiotic supplementation will only cause relatively small changes that prevent weight gain on your current diet.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 21, 2023
5 min read 779 Views 0 Comments
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