Probiotics May Help Women Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Previous studies have found that the intestinal flora of obese individuals differs from that of non-overweight individuals. Differences in diet promote the growth of certain bacteria at the expense of others. A recent study suggests that probiotic supplements may help reset the bacterial balance and help women lose weight and continue to keep it off.
Participants in the study included 125 overweight men and women who followed a weight loss diet for 12 weeks. This was followed by a 12 week period during which they focused on maintaining their new weight. During the entire study period, half of the group took two pills containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics while the other half took a placebo.
At the end of the first 12 weeks, the women in the probiotic group had an average weight loss of 9.7 lbs., compared to 5.6 lbs. in the placebo group. No significant difference in weight loss was observed between the men in each group. At the end of the second 12 week study period, the women in the placebo group had maintained a stable weight while the probiotic group continued to lose weight. They eventually achieved a final average loss of 11.4 lbs.
The researchers also observed that participants in the supplement group had lower levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin and lower concentration of intestinal bacteria usually associated with obesity.
Researchers from Universite Laval conducted the study. It was published in the December 2013 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition.
While probiotics are most commonly associated with improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.