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They are found in both supplements and fermented foods.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Several studies also suggest that probiotics can help you lose weight and belly fat.
Gut Bacteria May Affect Body Weight Regulation
There are hundreds of different microorganisms in your digestive system.
The majority of these are bacteria, most of which are friendly. Friendly bacteria produce several important nutrients, including vitamin K and certain B-vitamins.
In those studies, people with obesity had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to normal-weight people.
There are also some animal studies showing that when the gut bacteria from obese mice are transplanted into guts of lean mice, the lean mice get fat (11).
All of these studies suggest that gut bacteria may play a powerful role in weight regulation.
How Can Probiotics Affect Changes in Weight?
It is thought that certain probiotics may inhibit the absorption of dietary fat, increasing the amount of fat excreted with feces (12).
In other words, they make you “harvest" fewer calories from the foods in your diet.
Probiotics may also fight obesity in other ways:
- Release of GLP-1: Probiotics may help release the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormone GLP-1. Increased levels of this hormone may help you burn calories and fat (14, 15).
- Increase of ANGPTL4: Probiotics may increase levels of the protein ANGPTL4. This may lead to decreased fat storage (16).
There is also a lot of evidence that obesity is linked to inflammation in the brain. By improving gut health, probiotics may reduce systemic inflammation and protect against obesity and other diseases (17, 18).
However, it is important to keep in mind that these mechanisms aren't understood very well. More research is needed.
Bottom Line: Probiotics may reduce the number of calories you absorb from food. They also affect hormones and proteins related to appetite and fat storage. They may also reduce inflammation, which can drive obesity.
Probiotics May Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Studies have found that certain strains of the Lactobacillus family can help you lose weight and belly fat.
In one study, eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus reduced body fat by 3–4 percent over a 6-week period (19).
Another study of 125 overweight dieters investigated the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements on weight loss and weight maintenance (20).
During a 3-month study period, the women taking the probiotics lost 50 percent more weight compared to the group taking a dummy pill (placebo). They also continued to lose weight during the weight maintenance phase of the study.
Of all the probiotic bacteria studied to date, Lactobacillus gasseri shows the most promising effects on weight loss. Numerous studies in rodents have found that it has anti-obesity effects (13, 21, 22, 23).
One study followed 210 people with a lot of belly fat. It found that taking Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks reduced body weight, fat around organs, BMI, waist size and hip circumference.
What's more, belly fat was reduced by 8.5 percent. However, when participants stopped taking the probiotic, they gained back all of the belly fat within a month (25).
Bottom Line: Some strains of the Lactobacillus family have been shown to reduce weight and belly fat. Lactobacillus gasseri appears to be the most effective.
Some Probiotics May Prevent Weight Gain
Losing weight is not the only way to fight obesity. Prevention is even more important, as in preventing the weight from accumulating in the first place.
On this graph, you can see how the probiotic group gained significantly less fat:
This indicates that some probiotic strains might be effective at preventing weight gain in the context of a high-calorie diet. However, this needs to be studied a lot more.
Bottom Line: Certain probiotic strains may be able to prevent weight gain on a high-calorie diet.
Some Probiotic Strains May Increase the Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity
Not all studies have found that probiotics help with weight loss.
One recent study reviewed 4 controlled clinical trials. It concluded that probiotics did not reduce body weight, BMI or body fat levels in overweight or obese adults (28).
However, this review study did not include many of the studies mentioned above.
Probiotics May be One Part of The Puzzle
Probiotics offer a wide range of health benefits.
However, their effects on weight are mixed and seem to depend on the type of probiotic.
Evidence indicates that Lactobacillus gasseri may help people with obesity lose weight and belly fat. Additionally, a blend of probiotics called VSL#3 may reduce weight gain on a high-calorie diet.
At the end of the day, certain types of probiotics may have modest effects on your weight, especially when combined with a healthy, real food-based diet.
However, there are many other reasons to take a probiotic supplement besides weight loss.
They can improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular risk factors and even help fight depression and anxiety.
For more evidence-based info on probiotics and their health benefits, read this article.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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