Can probiotics help me lose weight? It’s a question we get so often, and it’s understandable. After all, the majority of the adults in the USA are overweight or obese. To say that weight loss is strictly about ‘eating healthier foods and exercising more,’ is an oversimplification of the weight loss process that we’re learning more about every year. Many people are working on losing weight, so we’ll talk about the relationship between probiotics and weight loss.
First, let’s start with understanding what a probiotic is. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have the potential for health benefits when taken in adequate amounts. Critically, these potential health benefits rely on the probiotics being of the highest quality. What’s the connection between probiotics and weight loss? To understand that, we look at the gut.
Within a person's gut, you can find tens of trillions of bacteria. While that number is almost too big to imagine, what's important is realizing just how big a role bacteria play in our health. You may think of bacteria as a negative - something we want to get rid of. But while some bacteria are harmful, there are others that are crucial to our bodies functioning well.
Considering these trillions of bacteria, let’s look at some important bacteria facts. Scientists estimate that each person has about 160 different species of bacteria, just in their gut. What’s even more interesting is that there are over 1000 different species of gut bacteria. This means that your gut bacteria is different from everyone else’s - just like your fingerprint. This is so important in understanding weight loss because it furthers our understanding that different people process food and lose weight differently. You may gain weight by eating the same food that someone else eats and stays lean. How is this possible? The microbiota in your gut may be playing an important role.
While it’s probably intuitive that anything involving your gut will affect your ability to lose weight, we’ll cover why these gut bacteria matter. That will lead us to the answer of how probiotics may help you lose weight.
The gut microbiota help digest foods. It's believed that there are certain foods that your stomach is not able to digest, but the good bacteria in your gut can help with this. Their aid can allow certain food to be digested in a way that it may not be otherwise: without the bacteria. There are also gut microbiota that could potentially lead to an increase in weight, or difficulty losing weight. Your gut microbiota composition is believed to be partly responsible for your weight. Even more interesting is the understanding that a mother may be able to affect her future child's risk of obesity by taking probiotics. We see this in research that analyzed expectant mothers who took probiotics, compared to those who took a placebo for the same amount of time. The expectant moms took either the probiotics or the placebos for four weeks before their due dates. It was found that the mothers who were given the probiotics were less likely to have children with excess weight gain from ages 0 - 2, compared to those who were given placebos. Because of research like this, we have probiotics specially formulated for expectant mothers and infants.
Since we know that your unique gut microbiota could have an effect on your weight, the next natural question is “Can probiotics help me lose weight?” Some research shows yes - a meta-analysis of almost 1000 people showed some evidence of probiotics being able to affect someone’s weight loss. One piece of good news is that you can ingest probiotics that will work to create an optimized balance of the bacteria in your gut. There is further testing that could be done to confirm this. You can read more about that study here.
Another study done in 2014 looked at the gut microbiota of athletes vs. non-athletes. The researchers found that lean athletes tended to have a greater diversity of bacteria in their guts. This may indicate that a wider range of bacteria is correlated with a leaner body composition or lower weight. Probiotics give you the opportunity to introduce a range of bacteria into your digestive system. Products like Natren's Healthy Trinity can support health by aiding with regularity and digestion. While you are ‘stuck’ with the fingerprints you are born with, you are not ‘stuck’ with the gut microbiome you have. The composition of these colonies of bacteria can be altered for the better.
You may be wondering if all types of probiotics can help you lose weight. It’s very important to understand that any health benefits of probiotics are dependent on the quality of the product. Because of limited oversight in the manufacturing and selling of probiotics, there are some companies that prioritize their profits over your health. These companies make dubious claims and do not show the necessary dedication to the quality of their probiotics. Without knowing exactly what you are getting, and the potency of each individual strain of probiotics in your supplements, you cannot know that you are getting what you paid for - or a product that can best benefit your health.
At Natren, we have over 35 years of dedication to studying and formulating probiotics that are of the highest quality. We go above and beyond the required standards for safety and efficacy, to ensure that we can proudly stand behind every probiotic we sell. Not only is our manufacturing process a testament to our level of quality, but our shipping process is too. If you are looking for probiotics to help you lose weight, you do not want to pay for products that will then lose their potency during shipping. That’s a waste! At Natren, we ship your probiotics in temperature and moisture-level controlled containers that allow the potency of your probiotics to last. We use glass bottles with metal lids to limit light, moisture, and gasses that may lower the quality of your probiotics. Natren makes these commitments to manufacturing, storing, and shipping your probiotics so you can get the most benefit.
The health of your gut and your microbiota may influence your weight and ability to lose weight. Fortunately, you have the ability to alter your gut microbiota with probiotics which can introduce our highest quality strains of healthy bacteria. From improving colon health to promoting regularity and improving digestion, any steps you can take to help your body process the food you eat in the healthiest way, is an excellent potential step towards weight loss.