The benefits of probiotics on gut health are fairly well known these days, given the amount of coverage in the media and the availability of probiotic rich foods like yogurt and kefir. However, the benefits don’t just apply to conditions like IBS, or troublesome symptoms like bloating and constipation. Emerging research is identifying a range of additional benefits that can be attributed to the complex activities of the healthy bacteria in your gut, which includes the ability to reduce body weight and body mass index.
A new meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found convincing evidence of these particular benefits. The researchers from the Department of Cardiology, Taizhou People’s Hospital, Taizhou China, looked at 25 randomized human trials on over 1,900 healthy individuals. The studies investigated the impact of probiotic use on body weight and BMI.
They found that taking probiotics helped to reduce BMI and body weight, in particular the greatest reduction was found in overweight individuals. Furthermore, weight loss increased in those who took the probiotics for more than 8 weeks.
Although the amount of weight loss documented in the analysis was modest, it could be considered a useful tool to use alongside a healthy diet and exercise regime in order to maximise the benefits. Research shows that even as little as 5- 10Ib weight loss can reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore the results from animal studies have shown that probiotic consumption for 30 days reduces the accumulation of fat in the liver, reducing the risk of fatty liver disease which is linked to obesity and diabetes.
Abadia-Molina F et al. Effects of Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4034 and Lactobacillus paracasei on hepatic steatosis in Zucker rats. PLoS One. 2014; 22;9(5):e98401.
Qingqing Zhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571.