Healthy bacteria in your gut may be the secret to a trim and fit body. Weight loss can become rather easy when your gut microbiome is working on your side.
Gut bacteria have been proven to affect the body in multiple ways, which can make you retain and shed weight depending upon their particular composition.
Scientists have concluded from various research studies that the wrong kind of intestinal bacteria can increase the incidence of overweight and obesity.
By balancing your gut microbiome and taking probiotics regularly (proven to reduce weight), you can effectively meet your long-term fitness and body goals.
Here is everything you need to know about how probiotics can aid weight loss and the best bacteria strains to that effect.
How Does Gut Bacteria Affect Weight?
Your gut microbiome influences everything in your body from digestion to nutrient absorption and even your immunity.
They change how much energy you get from your food which is a major contributor to high metabolism. Most people have a sluggish metabolism which results in fat storage because they have gut bacteria that are really inefficient.
Inflammation is one of the major driving factors of fat accumulation. Chronic inflammation is the body’s immune response to foreign materials and harmful pathogens in the bloodstream which escape through the intestinal junctions.
Gut bacteria (the right kinds) effectively layer the intestinal junctions acting as a barricade which allows only nutrients to slip through. This prevents inflammation and helps you look slimmer.
Probiotics can also affect feelings of hunger, fullness, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic health by releasing hormones which act as neurological transmitters.
Certain good bacteria send signals to the brain to stop eating. An imbalanced gut microbiome with more harmful microbes will send hunger pang signals to the brain, making you crave more sugar and fatty foods.
Lactobacillus fermentum is one of the best probiotics for weight loss. This bacteria species is capable of altering energy and lipid homeostasis, leading to changes in body composition.
They change body adiposity through modification of gut microflora contributing to altered energy metabolism and body composition similar to that of a healthy weight individual.
In a study, Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus were mixed with yogurt and given to 28 adults for 6 weeks.
This randomized, double-blind crossover study observed reduction in body composition measurements with all participants showing a significant decrease in body fat mass. There was a 3 – 4% reduction in fat accumulation, especially along the waist line during the 6 week study.
Lactobacillus fermentum is also known to help prevent and alleviate symptoms of depression. Two out of every 3 overweight adults are prone to giving in to hunger cravings, particularly while stressed, anxious, or depressed.
It can be difficult to say no to comfort foods when harmful bacteria in your gut microbiome are sending hunger signals to your brain.
This probiotic strain rectifies any imbalance in the gut microbiome and prevents harmful microbes from making you crave comfort food.
Another winner to prevent weight gain in the Lactobacillus family is L. Gasseri. This particular strain has been associated with reductions in body weight and belly fat.
Particularly, Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055) was found to reduce belly fat by more than 8.5% in just 12 weeks in a randomized controlled trial. The study involved 210 healthy Japanese adults with a lot of fat in the waist area.
Lactobacillus gasseri was administered to the participants who were divided into 2 groups. One was given the probiotic supplement while the other group was given a placebo.
The probiotic group started showing reductions in belly fat within 2 weeks and the participants continued to lose weight up till 10 weeks, after which the reduction was marginal.
However, once the participants went off the probiotics, they regained all the weight around their belly within a few weeks.
This is because L. gasseri belongs to the bacteroidetes family which is one of the two primary probiotic species present in the gut microbiome. The other family is firmicutes.
In a study involving more than 70 twin sets, where one was obese and the other was of healthy normal weight, the researchers observed vast differences in the gut microbiome composition.
The obese twin had more firmicutes and less bacteroidetes as compared to the healthy weight twin. Following on this study, L. gasseri which belongs to the bacteroidetes family prevents firmicutes from taking over the gut microbiome and causing fat accumulation.
This bacteria strain is another member of the bacteroidetes family and works more or less on the same lines of L. gasseri, if not better.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus helps reduce body fat from all parts of the body and not just from abdominal region. It also seems to work doubly better in women as compared to men.
A randomized, controlled, double-blind study conducted at Université Laval in Quebec, Canada involving 125 overweight men and women found remarkable benefits of L. rhamnosus where weight loss was concerned.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups and instructed to follow a 12-week weight-loss diet. One of the groups was given L. rhamnosus probiotics, while the others were given a placebo.
Women from the probiotic group who took two probiotics from the L. rhamnosus family lost twice as much weight as compared to their counterparts who did not take probiotics. However, the probiotics did not contribute to weight loss in men at all.
Lactobacillus plantarum is another probiotic you should add to your diet to help your weight loss efforts. While L. plantarum does not directly help with weight loss like other bacteria from the Lactobacillus family, it significantly improves gut health and promotes a stronger immune system.
Exercise efforts and diet plans to lose weight work better with a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.
Lactobacillus plantarum helps in increasing metabolism by stimulating your digestive system, fighting off disease-causing bacteria, and helping your body to produce vitamin B and vitamin K. These vitamins are vital to nutrient absorption which reduces hunger cravings.
The Bottom Line
You can give a helping hand to your weight loss efforts by including a probiotic supplement to your daily routine.