Probiotics & Weight Loss

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You exercise every day, you eat salads for lunch, you skip carbs and sweets and yet you can’t seem to lose the weight. If this sounds like you then there could be another reason why you’re not dropping the kilos like you should be.

Overweight/obesity is the most widespread chronic disease around the world and within Malaysia, it is estimated that over 60% of our population are either overweight or obese. These are pretty shocking numbers, especially when you factor in that being overweight and obesity increases the risk of developing serious non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

It’s generally recommended that to keep within a healthy weight range, we should adopt healthy diets and an active lifestyle.

But what if we’re doing all that and still not losing weight?

Evidence Shows That Gut Bacteria May Be Linked To Better Weight Management

Well, the answer could lie in your gut bacteria. Studies have shown that normal-weight people have very different gut bacteria compared to those who are overweight or obese. And in some animals studies, it was actually demonstrated that lean mice ended up gaining weight when the gut bacteria of obese mice were transplanted into their guts.

This suggests that the occurrence of obesity could be linked with our gut bacteria by the influence of energy absorption. What this means is that having the wrong gut bacteria may cause you to absorb more calories from your meals compared to other people.

Certain bacteria from the Lactobacillus family especially, have been found to be able to inhibit the absorption of dietary fat, allowing more fat to passed through our Gi tracts unabsorbed and in turn reducing the number of calories we absorb.

One particular study investigated the effects of lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG and found that in a 3-month period, the participants taking the probiotic managed to lose 50% more weight compared to the participants taking a placebo.

Besides just reducing calorie absorption, some probiotics strains may also help reduce weight by affecting our biochemistry. For example, probiotics can increase the release of the hormone GLP-1 which helps to reduce appetite and may also help to increase metabolism and fat loss. Supplementation of probiotics may also lead to increased absorption levels of the protein ANGPTL4 which can help decrease fat storage.

All in all, there is some substantial indication that probiotics can play a positive role in weight loss. However, like most things in life, there is no simple solution. Successfully long-term weight loss depends on a number of factors like diet and activity level, so don’t just rely on probiotics on your weight loss journey!

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