Consuming probiotics to improve gut health has become a popular practice over the last few years. Nowadays, they are used for just about anything that involves the digestive system. But can probiotics help you with weight loss?
Let’s get into all you need to know about probiotics – including what they are, how they can help, and the three best probiotics for women’s weight loss.
Culturelle Digestive Daily Capsules
Best for Budget
Contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus (range of potential digestive benefits)
10 billion CFUs per serving
Ideal for individuals following a gut-healing specific diet
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), probiotics refer to microbes (live bacteria and yeasts) naturally found in your digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut system and play other crucial roles including regulating weight.
Apart from weight regulation, these beneficial bacteria may help ward off health issues such as irritable bowel movements, atopic dermatitis, and more. On the other hand, a higher number of harmful bacteria will increase your chances of contracting different health issues.
How Probiotics Can Help in Weight Loss
There are two major families of beneficial bacteria in your gut system: firmicutes and bacteroidetes. Studies show that a good balance of these bacteria may help regulate weight. Studies also show that a person’s weight might influence the balance of bacteria in their gut system. For instance, researchers observed that obese people had more firmicutes and few bacteroidetes compared to lean individuals.
Like other supplements, probiotic products have a few tricks up their sleeve that may aid weight loss. But they are still not magic pills that will get rid of excess weight in one move. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use them alongside other weight loss therapies – such as exercise (see Belly Brain recommended home workout programs here) and intermittent fasting.
With that in mind, here is how probiotics may help in weight loss:
1. Reduce Appetite And Fat Absorption
A study shows that probiotics seem to reduce food intake and energy usage by facilitating the production of short-chain fatty acids, including acetate and propionate. Short-chain fatty acids (SFCA) are made up of all carbohydrates, but mainly from prebiotic dietary fibers.
SFCA, such as acetate, bind to receptors in the gut lining. This interaction prompts the receptors to produce gut hormones, peptide YY and GLP-1, responsible for controlling appetite. When these hormones are released in your gut system, you’re less likely to take an unhealthy snack, saving you from unnecessary weight gain. Also, high levels of these hormones may increase your ability to burn calories and fat more easily.
Apart from suppressing appetite, probiotics may help lower fat and cholesterol levels. Another study shows that they regulate the amount of fat absorbed into your body. In simpler terms, probiotics may influence your body to absorb fewer calories from the food you consume.
By balancing the number of good bacteria in your gut system, probiotics may help the body to function more effectively. Probiotics may help increase metabolism.
Probiotics may change how your body system converts macronutrients for energy. A good balance of beneficial bacteria might influence your body to utilize stored fat for energy rather than proteins stored in your muscles. Utilizing probiotics and other weight-loss strategies such as exercises can help you burn more calories.
Which Probiotic Strains Can Best Help With Weight Loss?
Studiesshow that probiotics may play a huge role in weight regulation in overweight and obese individuals. These microbes may help you lose weight and lower the amount of stored fat. However, it’s important to understand that there are different strains of probiotics, each with a unique impact on weight loss.
Studies have shown that one family of probiotics, Lactobacillus, may help women lose weight and belly fat. In one particular study, women consumed yogurt with Lactobacillusfermented or Lactobacillus amylovorus. Findings showed that people involved lost 3-4% body fat within six weeks.
In another study involving obese individuals, experts determined the efficiency of two probiotic strains, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, in weight reduction and maintenance. Findings showed that women using this probiotic significantly lost more weight over eight weeks than those using placebo pills to regulate weight. Researchers also noted that individuals consuming this strain continued to lose weight even during the weight maintenance phase.
However, one probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus gasseri, has demonstrated the most promising weight loss effects. In one of the studies involving 210 individuals, researchers found that this strain may have anti-obesity effects. It effectively reduced fat surrounding vital organs, waist size, and body mass index. However, the researchers noticed that participants gained back most belly fat within 30 days when they stopped consuming probiotics.
Some Probiotics May Prevent Weight Gain
Apart from weight loss, probiotics may save you from gaining weight in the first place. In one of the studies, individuals consumed a probiotic compound called VSL#3 following a meal containing 1000 extra calories than they needed per day. Researchers noted that people in the probiotic group gained less weight and fat within four weeks.
However, the findings also showed that the probiotic formulation didn’t significantly affect insulin sensitivity and metabolism.
Our Recommended Probiotics
1. Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women: Best Overall
It contains 50 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) and 16 strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, to help improve your gut flora. It also includes other strains such as L. reuteri, responsible for improving vaginal health. It also has prebiotic fiber to help boost its efficiency.
“This product does help me out SSSOOO much and resolved my problem. Of course, like any vitamin, you have to give this 4-6 weeks to get into your system, but I take this pill everyday and my boyfriend is very grateful too.” ~ Amazon reviewer
Garden of Life probiotics are gluten and soy-free. They have a stable shelf life, reducing the need for refrigeration. Thus, it’ll be easier to carry the capsules with you, for instance, when you’re traveling or exercising.
“We’ve tried multiple probiotics, and these are the best. Most importantly they have great ingredients. Secondly they don’t have to be refrigerated which is so much nicer, especially for traveling.” ~ Amazon reviewer
2. Culturelle Digestive Daily Capsule: Best For Budget
Culturelle daily is one of few affordable probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Culturelle contains ten billion CFUS of this popular bacteria strain per serving. Apart from this strain of good bacteria, the product also contains 200 mg of inulin, a naturally occurring fiber to feed the microbes.
“These are good for me! Easy to swallow and not at a bad price!!” ~ Amazon review
The product also undergoes third-party testing to ensure you’re receiving a safe product free from contaminants, soy, gluten, or dairy. This supplement is ideal for individuals who want an extra gut-health boost by following a gut-healing specific diet.
3. Modere Axis Trebiotic – Best for Gut Health
Modere Axis Trebiotic is another product you should consider purchasing to improve your gut environment and aid weight loss. This product is a market leader with its cutting edge 3-in-1 technology that features three key factors, including GOS probiotic, NeuroFlora probiotic, and EpiCor G+.
EpiCor G+ is a whole food fermentate that supports healthy gut lining for optimal micronutrient synthesis. GOS probiotic, on the other hand, provides an ideal environment for good bacteria to populate in your gut system. Neo Flora probiotic is another key factor in this product that provides acid-resistant bacteria to diversify the microbiome. There can be added health benefit when a prebiotic and postbiotic are taken in addition to the probiotic. Modere Axis Trebiotic contains all three in one formula.
The product also undergoes third-party testing to ensure you receive a quality product free from gluten and sugar, and it’s also Keto-friendly.
While there aren’t many reviews on this probiotic, Modere Axis Trebiotic has one of the strongest formulations in the market, which may be its strongest selling point. However, more reviews are needed! BellyBrain.org’s Julie Reynolds discusses her experience with Trebiotic above.
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Sonja Schoonenberg is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. Having worked in corporate America for many years she quickly realized that her passion and fulfillment wasn’t in a traditional job. Thirteen years ago, she fell in love with entrepreneurship. She created Dietitian With A Mission in her relentless determination to help others.
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