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3 Ways Probiotics Can Help You Get Slim

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Probiotics. They’ve been around for a little while now but suddenly they seem to be a real buzzword in health and wellness.

That’s because science is continuing to show that many diseases – such as the flu, colon cancer, allergies, obesity and even behavioural issues – appear to directly relate to imbalances in the microorganisms that live in our guts. [1]

Probiotics are the key element to keeping those colonies in harmony.

So what are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts grant a significant health benefit on the host. [2] That is, they are “good” bacteria, and other tiny microbes, that can be consumed orally to level out the balance of Good Vs Evil in our guts.

The human gut harbors many diverse strains of microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts and that are collectively known as ‘gut flora’. But antibiotics, stress, illness and bad diets can all wreak havoc on that happy gut flora [3] and good gut flora has been shown to improve immune health, regulate cholesterol and hormone levels, support healthy weight, boost energy, and may even prevent cancers and heart disease. [4]

Probiotics are most popular as supplements but they can also be found in natural, mostly fermented foods like natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, kefir-style drinks, sourdough bread, and kombucha.

Gut bacteria and weight regulation

One of the impressive results that probiotics are currently being hailed for is for their potential in fighting obesity.

There are two main types of “good” bacteria that dominate the flora in our gut: bacteroidetes and firmicutes and studies now show that obese individuals have a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes than healthy-weight individuals. [5] Further investigation into this also showed that those Bacteroidetes can actually be increased in an overweight individual alongside weight loss on certain low-calorie diets. [6]

This is really exciting news as it is now entirely possible that treating imbalances of the gut flora with something as simple as a probiotic may open new doors for curbing the obesity epidemic/

Here’s 3 ways in which probiotics can help you to get slim

1. Probiotics May Help You Slim Down

Studies on the Lactobacillus family of probiotics have shown that certain probiotics could indeed play a big role in weight loss.

In one study, subjects who ate yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus over a 6-week period were shown to reduce body fat by 3-4%. Measurements showed that body fat mass was reduced in all treatments, with the greatest reduction from Lactobacillus amylovorus consumption.

Another study saw women lose an incredible 51% more weight than their corresponding placebo group after 12 weeks taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements. [7] The women were also able to maintain that weight loss during a weight-maintenance period where they were no longer on restrictive diets, but did continue to consume the probiotic.

And a third study using Lactobacillus Gasseri in a study on Japanese adults showed that belly fat was reduced by up to 8.5% with BMI, waist and hip measurements, and body fat mass also significantly decreasing. [8] Most interesting, was that when they asked participants to stop taking the probiotic for 4 weeks they gained back most of the fat that was lost.

The results here certainly show that given the correct type of probiotic, a change in gut flora could alter both metabolism and body fat.

2. Probiotics May Help You to Stay Slim

Probiotics may also offer some protection against gaining weight in the first place.

A 4-week study using a probiotic formula called VSL#3 on twenty non-obese males showed that both their weight and fat gain increased less on a high calorie diet, compared to a placebo group, when they simultaneously consumed the probiotic mix. [9]

This could have far reaching reverberations for people who have lost a lot of weight but are battling to stay slim on such restrictive diets.

Losing weight isn’t always the hardest part, it’s keeping that weight off permanently.

3. Probiotics May Help Suppress Your Appetite

Leptin is a hormone that is produced by the body’s fat cells. It’s also come to be known as the “satiety hormone” as it’s been proven to inhibit hunger. Basically, leptin tells our brains that we are full and that we should stop eating. On the flip side, if our energy stores drop it alerts our brains and our hunger kicks in so that we can get those energy stores back up.

Unfortunately most people struggling with obesity have high levels of leptin circulating because leptin increases in proportion to body fat. But that’s where leptin seems to get all confused. Where it should be telling the brain that it has enough energy and to suppress the appetite so that it can restore itself to leaner proportions, it instead keeps signalling hunger. [10]

Researchers are still trying to figure that riddle but what they have noted is that leptin levels dropped during their trials with probiotics.

In those same groups where significant belly fat and weight loss was achieved with the use of probiotics, they found that the appetite-regulating leptin had also decreased. This would also have played a part in the success they had during the weight maintenance period of the study. [11]

So are these “slim probiotics” worth the hype?

Though more far-reaching studies still need to be done, there are some truly significant results found in those current studies available.

Coupled with a low fat diet and exercise, the use of certain strains of these “probiotic slim” like Lactobacillus Gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus could indeed prove to be the missing link for many people battling obesity. Which could turn out to have even bigger repercussions for the treatment of diabetes.

[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412001043

[2] http://www.nature.com/nrgastro/journal/v11/n8/full/nrgastro.2014.66.html

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425030/

[4] http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/can-gut-bacteria-improve-your-health

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26061054

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17183309

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24299712

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23614897

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26466123

[10] http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/content/223/1/T25.long

[11] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128103537.htm

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