There are millions of bacteria that inhabit our guts. Most are beneficial, and are referred to as Probiotics.
We can improve the population of good bacteria in our guts thru proper nutrition, and by taking Probiotic supplements.
Research has shown this can relieve many chronic health problems. While not as strong as Garcinia Cambogia, some Probiotics may also help us lose weight and belly fat.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria (biotic) we eat that are beneficial (pro) to our bodies.
We humans carry around 10 times as many microorganisms with us as we have cells in our body. (5).
There are hundreds of strains of these friendly bacteria that aid digestion and produce important nutrients, including B and K vitamins.
By adding more probiotic foods into your diet, you could reap the following health benefits:
- Stronger immune system
- Healing leaky gut syndrome and IBS
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy
- Weight loss
- Healthier skin
Damage to our Digestive Systems
Modern agricultural practices including rampant use of pesticides, chlorine soaking, preservatives and refrigeration leave our foods have very little probiotics today.
In fact, some foods now have dangerous antibiotics that destroy the bacteria in our digestive system.
In addition to the problems with our foods, we also encounter many toxins in our environment that harm our digestive system, resulting in chronic inflammation that is the root cause of many diseases and chronic health issues
- Processed Grains
- Emotional Stress
- Chemicals and medications
Too many of us are subjected to many of these everyday. If they’re not addressed, the population of good bacteria is decimated and you gut can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, parasites, yeast and fungi.
Our foods, environment, stresses and medicines can all damage the biology in our guts and wreak havoc on our health.
Does Gut Bacteria affect weight
The biology of our guts is not static, and can be changed by diet and outside environmental factors(12).
Imbalance of these ratios (gut dysbiosis) affect weight loss or gain.
The functions of the hundreds of different strains of bacteria are complex and not entirely understood, with some disagreement among researchers (7, 8).
Prevotella is a enterotype, or family of bacteria strain that help digest carbohydrates and are more prevalent in people who consume a lot of carbohydrates.
Bacteroides are another family of bacteria that is more prevalent in people who consume significant amounts of animal protein.
Increasing the population of certain strains of bacteria is now thought to effect how our bodies process and store food, which can affect weight.
An early sign of this was a study where gut bacteria from obese mice that are transplanted into the guts of normal weight mice result in those mice soon becoming obese (13).
This lead to further studies to see which strains of bacteria were different.
These results opened up some very exciting possibilities for weight loss to see how much we can alter our gut bacteria to help cure obesity.
There is wide variation in the population of bacteria in each persons gut. Research shows it is influenced by out diet, and these bacteria play a powerful role in controlling weight
Probiotic Strains that may help 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% over a 6-week period (21).
Another study of 125 overweight dieters investigated the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements on weight loss and weight maintenance (22).
During a 3-month study period, the women taking the probiotics lost 50% 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.
Note that int these 2 studies mentioned above subjects were provided with Prebiotics along with the LG (Yoghurt and Inulin) which is thought to improve the effectiveness.
Lactobacillus gasseri is generating the most excitement and further research for its effects on weight loss.
Human studies are also promising. Most recently, a 2 week study of 30 healthy men in 2015.
Subject were given a glass of fermented milk to drink every day, with half including Lactobacillus gasseri in their drink and the other half not.
Testing of fecal samples before and after the study showed those receiving Lactobacillus gasser had a higher amount of fat in the feces after the 2 weeks, while the control group did not (29).
Effect of intake of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus gasseri on fecal fat excretion in humans.
This proved that not only does the Lactobacillus gasseri survive the digestive process, but that it had an effect on the metabolism, resulting in less fat being absorbed.
This study demonstrates the mechanism for how Lactobacillus gasseri can effect the system.
An earlier Japanese study showed Lactobacillus gasseri can effectively reduce waist size, BMI and the dangerous visceral fat that accumulates around the organs (30).
A Korean company has patented a form of LG derived from mothers milk they call Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17, and been granted a certificate of Functional Ingredient for Body Fat reduction (31)
Some strains of the Lactobacillus family have been shown to reduce weight and belly fat. Lactobacillus gasseri appears to be the most effective.
Natural Food Sources of Lactobacillus Gasseri
Lactobacillus bacteria is the most commonly used for fermentation.
Most fermented foods naturally contain Lactobacillus gasseri bacteria.
Kombucha, Kefir, yoghurt and pickled vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut are good sources of a wide variety of Lactobacillus strains.
Some fermented meats like salami and chorizo also contain lactobacillus bacteria.
You can also ferment foods yourself at home, but be sure to do it properly. I recommend starting with these recipes for kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut.
Lactobacillus gasseri is also found naturally in breast milk, which is thought to help the development of an infant’s immune system.
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Streptococcus thermophilus
Note that VSL#3 does NOT include Lactobacillus Gasseri.
It has been used extensively for 15 years, primarily for relief of IBS and other chronic gastric distress problems.
Several studies have demonstrated regular use can increase number and diversity of bacteria microbiota, and provide relief from colitis, diarrhea, and improve immune system response (32,33,34,35,36,37)
As for weight control, a 2015 study tested 20 normal weight men to see the effects of VSL#3 in conjunction with a high fat diet.
This particular blend of probiotic strains was shown to protect against weight gain in test subjects who were fed 1000 calories more per day than required (31).
Losing weight justifiably receives the most interest, but preventing weight gain is sometimes important to prevent regain of lost weight after prolonged dieting.
Further testing is ongoing to study the potential of VSL#3 for weight loss.
Oral supplementation of some strains clearly effect the population of our gut bacteria and can be help improve the digestive process. Improved digestion may prevent weight gain.
Where to buy Lactobacillus Gasseri or VSL#3
There are several brands on Amazon that include some L Gasseri in combination with 10 or more other strains.
These are the only 2 we have been able to find that primarily use L Gasseri.
Swanson – A single strain – Lactobacillus Gasseri – 3 billion CFUs.
Phillips Colon Health – 3 different strains including Lactobacillus Gasseri – 1.5 billion CFUs.
VSL#3 has long been a popular choice for relief of many gastric distress issues and appears to be beneficial in preventing weight gain. It might also help with weight loss.
You can find VSL#3 on Amazon (it is a proprietary formula so there is only the one brand).
Besides weight loss, a healthy microbiome can have improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular risk factors and even help fight depression and anxiety.
Proper diet is the best way to improve your gut flora.
Probiotic Supplements can also increase the number and diversity of your gut flora.
Research indicates probiotics can help some people lose belly fat and weight.
On the plus side though, Probiotics do not have the side effects
of strong diet supplements.
As always, we recommend a low carb diet and more exercise as the most effective way to lose weight.