Weight loss is a journey that everyone needs to embark on in life. Unlike the yesteryears where weight loss was associated with glamor and outward appearance alone, recent times have seen a shift in people’s attitude and thought process towards the same. Now people want to lose weight to stay healthy and fit. Various methodologies are being tried and tested to reach people’s goal weights. Whilst some solely depend on physical activities others turn to attain sustainable weight loss either through omitting certain food from their system or by introducing certain other foods that would help serve the purpose. This article covers the latter food type – probiotics. Read on to know what they are and how far they can assist one in weight loss.
What Are Probiotics
Our body consists of both good and bad bacteria. Although some may squirm learning of this scientific information, good bacteria is essential for our survival in ways more than one. Probiotics are food supplements that supply a necessary dose of good bacteria to the body. They comprise of yeast and live, good bacteria that naturally live in the human body. These bacteria enhance metabolic functions as well as renders one healthy. They also counter the work of the bad bacteria present in the body and help fight infections and diseases. Apart from this they also help in vitamin creation, controls inflammation, prevent bad bacteria from entering the blood, helps in the absorption of medicines, etc.
Each person’s body can be classified as a unique microbiome, which is an exclusive entity. The microbiome consists of a large number of organisms, called microbes, that live within our bodies to keep us healthy. They are found to live in our mouth, vagina, skin, lungs, mouth, and a large portion in the gut, especially the large intestine. Our body plays host to trillions and more of these microbes consisting of yeast, bacteria, fungi, virus, etc. They can exist either inside or on the surface of the body. A probiotic becomes a beneficial microbe only if it showcases the following traits:
- Can be isolated from the person.
- Can be safely eaten
- Lives in the intestine after eating.
- Has health benefits.
Apart from aiding in digestion and other important functions, probiotics also help to reduce diarrhea, reduce constipation, helps to treat inflammatory bowel syndrome, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, UTI, gum disease, etc. Foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, sauerkraut, etc are natural ways to consume probiotics, if not various supplements are available in the market which specifically mentions on the label that they contain active, live cultures of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Weight Loss Benefits
Losing weight comes with some perks that cannot be overlooked. Briefly listed below are some of those:
- It helps to keep the blood sugar levels of diabetics regulated
- Reduces the risk of stroke
- Helps one live with a healthy heart
- Enhances one’s confidence, energy levels, and self-esteem
- Helps to induce better sleep
- Improves libido
- Is a better friend to one’s joints
- Deems the person looking younger and much more active
- Reduces the risk of various diseases
Probiotics For Weight Loss
It is a known fact that our gut bacteria enhances our metabolism by producing vitamins K, B9, B7, B12; helps in better absorption of nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron; helps in breaking down carbs, make short-chain fatty acids, and aid in fiber fermenting. In certain instances, however, the bacteria within our gut becomes imbalanced leading to a condition called dysbiosis. This in turn leads to inflammatory bowel syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome both of which cause discomfort. It can also cause certain allergies, disorders of the brain, etc. Probiotics can help counter the effect and damage caused by these bad bacteria. They also have a positive effect on weight loss. However, the effect may differ from person to person, in the sense, some people have reported of considerable reduction in their waistline whilst some were happy with the conspicuous reduction in kilos. Another set of people reported that probiotic consumption slowed down their weight gaining woes as some are more susceptible to this than others.
If one is looking to lose weight by consuming biofit probiotic then certain factors need to be considered. They are:
- Dosage of the probiotic
- Duration of consumption
- Type of the probiotic
- Your current weight
- Age of the person intending to opt for probiotic weight loss
Of the various researches conducted over probiotics for weight loss, one garnered positive results in animals that stated that they suppressed hunger, reduced appetite, aiding in better sugar regulation as well as in enhanced use of energy from food. Another independent study conducted on human beings with large visceral fat concluded that drinking a 200 gm probiotic fluid helped them to lose some amount of this unhealthy fat over a period of 3 months. It was found that certain probiotics inhibit the absorption of dietary fat thereby ejecting more fat through the feces than what is absorbed by the body. This aids in decreasing calorie intake and in turn assists in weight loss. They also release calorie and fat-burning hormones like peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide 1, both of which reduce hunger pangs which is an important feat to attain if one is looking to lose weight. Probiotics are also shown to increase fat-regulating proteins like angiopoietin-like 4 leading to reduced fat storage.
Points To Remember and Risks Associated
A major factor that one needs to bear in mind before taking probiotics for weight loss is that probiotics consist of bacteria that are also living organisms. And most of these probiotics do not require FDA stamps as they are not necessarily considered as medications to treat illnesses rather as food supplements that help improve one’s gut health. So, for these bacteria to function effectively you should make sure the expiration date of the product is not past the mentioned date, the product has been stored properly, it has been sealed properly to reduce chances of contamination, ensure you are buying from trusted sources and most importantly if you are planning to rely on probiotics for an increased duration then do so only after consulting a health expert.
Another aspect to not overlook is that, considering bacteria are living creatures there is every chance that they have died within or before the mentioned expiration time frame owing to improper storage, so they may not serve the purpose as intended upon consumption. In some cases, a different strain of bacteria than mentioned on the label may be present which could at times do more harm than good so make sure never to buy from unlicensed sources. Another piece of advice to adhere to is for people with compromised immunity to steer clear from probiotic consumption unless they are given the green signal by a nutritionist or health expert.
There is no concrete evidence that consuming probiotics paves a definitive road to weight loss. Although certain studies have garnered positive results, the extent of the success rate is still under research. Since probiotics enhance metabolism and hold various other health benefits, adding it to your daily meal plan is never a bad option so long as you don’t have any underlying health issues that deem probiotic consumption unhealthy. Most importantly, speak to your doctor before you finalize upon the probiotic plan or, any one plan for weight loss, and zero down upon a sustainable method that best suits your goal and lifestyle.