Can probiotics help you lose weight? This is a question I see being asked a lot in some of the online health groups. When it comes to weight loss, it’s now thought that the bacteria in the gut play an important role but are not the whole story.
Certainly studies have shown that the gut microbiome in overweight people differs from the gut bacteria in people with normal weight. And thinner people also have a better diversity of gut bacteria which is linked with good health.
Some scientists argue that probiotics can’t change your gut microbiome but others have shown in studies that they can but the research has mostly been done on animals.
However, the result of one 3 month study showed women taking probiotics lost 50 percent more weight compared to the group taking a placebo.
Good quality probiotics can help change the composition of good bacteria in the gut. They can not only increase the number of bacteria, but also they can enhance the effects of the existing beneficial gut bacteria.
As well as probiotics foods that contain prebiotics, a type of fiber which feeds the good bacteria can help boost the population of healthy bacteria in the gut. Both can be beneficial for weight management, especially probiotics, which provide an ideal environment for the good bacteria allowing them to survive.
But how exactly can probiotics help you lose weight? And if you’re following a low-carb diet like keto, will probiotics be good for you? Read on to find more about this.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that live naturally in the gut. They can also be found in probiotic supplements or you can get them from eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt.
Bacteria often have a bad reputation. Most people associate them with something that can make you sick. However, there are two types of bacteria in your body – good and bad bacteria.
Probiotics consist of good bacteria that help to keep your body stay healthy. They can help you in many ways, including fighting the bad bacteria, helping you to feel better, and assist in your weight loss.
Good bacteria in your gut can help to improve your overall health by regulating hormones and improving immune function.
Having a healthy balance of good bacteria in your body may help to regulate weight and fight off a range of health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, skin diseases, and even the common cold.
Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?
The presence of probiotics in your gut plays an important role in your body’s metabolic function, which could greatly influence your weight. It regulates hormones, which affects your blood sugar level and appetite.
Not only that, it determines how energy can be used in your body. To further understand how can probiotics help you lose weight, let’s get into the specifics.
When bad bacteria start to proliferate, an imbalance in your gut could occur. This is known as dysbiosis. It can be caused by antibiotic use, a poor diet high in sugar and processed foods, pesticide residue on food, and stress. Dysbiosis makes it difficult to maintain a stable level of blood sugar.
PYY (pancreatic peptide yy) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) are two hormones that also play an important role in this aspect since these hormones can help to regulate blood glucose levels. Poor secretion of these hormones due to inflammation or lack of protein could lead to metabolic issues such as heart diseases and diabetes.
A keto diet which can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and includes good levels of protein could help with the production of GLP-1. Probiotics have also been shown to increase GLP-1.
Blood sugar imbalances and having excess weight could make it increasingly difficult for a person to lose weight.
Appetite control is one of the biggest challenges that one could face when it comes to losing weight. Your body has various ways to let you know that you’ve already eaten enough. Signals coming from peptides, hormones, and neurotransmitters can all determine whether you are full or not.
Related reading: Hormones and Weight Loss on Keto
Dysbiosis can also cause a glitch that could affect the way your gut and brain communicate. Bad bacteria could suppress the way the PYY and GLP-1 hormones work. These hormones are also known as the “satiety hormones”.
The Pancreatic YY hormone (PYY) is released from the small intestine after eating. This slows down the speed at which food moves through the intestines, helping your body to absorb more nutrients and make you feel easily satisfied. However, the amount of PPY hormone that will be released will depend on your gut bacteria.
GLP 1 also works in the same way as PYY. It helps to slow down the passing of food through your intestines and sends signals to the brain that you have already eaten enough. Bad gut bacteria can also affect the production of GLP-1 hormones, which could wreak havoc in appetite control.
Related reading: How A Low Carb Diet Keeps Your Appetite Under Control
The gut plays a major role in our body’s immune system. Not only will the good bacteria protect you against viruses, but they also help your immune system to identify threats, such as germs and allergies.
However, dysbiosis could make you susceptible to various illnesses. It can also rob you of the energy you need to stay active. In addition, an overactive immune system can leave your joints painful, making you feel less motivated to work out.
Probiotics and Keto
Now that you have an idea of how can probiotics help you lose weight, let’s also try to look at how probiotics can help with the keto diet.
Related reading: Is A Low Carb Diet Bad For Your Gut Bacteria?
As you know, the keto diet is one of the most popular weight-loss diets today. It involves eating lots of healthy fats and restricting carbs. By doing so, your body will transition into a state of ketosis, where your body will be burning fats for energy instead of glucose.
Indeed, the keto diet is an effective way of losing weight while staying healthy. However, one of the biggest downsides of keto is that it could wreak havoc with your digestion especially if you don’t eat enough fiber.
Related reading: Fiber on Keto – Why Is It So Important?
If your gut can’t break down the fats that you eat, you could suffer with bloating, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms.
You need probiotics to help your gut absorb nutrients and prevent these symptoms while on the keto diet. An imbalanced microbiome can also lower the nutrients that your body can derive from the food you eat.
Some strains of these good bacteria can also produce the vitamins that your body needs in order to carry out its various functions. In fact, some of the B Vitamins and Vitamin K are made in the gut.
So, can probiotics help you lose weight? Yes, definitely but it’s only part of the solution. Remember that a healthy gut microbiome is important for optimal energy-burning, which is the key to weight loss.
If you are following the keto diet to lose weight, you can either take a good quality probiotic supplement or eat keto-friendly fermented and prebiotic foods to keep your gut in a healthy balance.
Look for a probiotic supplement that contains a good range of bacteria and does not contain any sugars or other unhealthy ingredients that could affect your ketosis. They amounts they contain are usually measured in CFUs (colony forming units). The better brands guarantee CFU at expiry date on the label. 15 billion CFUs is the minimum you want.
A good one is this Renew Life Probiotics which has 30 Billion CFU Guaranteed and 12 bacterial strains.
By having a healthy and balanced gut, you will be more likely to benefit from your keto diet and easily achieve your weight loss goals.