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How to Lose Weight with Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria which live in our bodies. Most people think about the various disease when it comes to bacteria. Our body is the host for millions of microorganisms, some of them are bad and cause health problems, while others are good and fight to keep us healthy. The good bacteria are also known as probiotics, and most of them live inside the digestive system. Their main role is to keep the gut healthy.

So far scientists counted more than 500 different forms of probiotics which are part of our system. Not all of them are essential for the body’s proper function, but each one plays a specific role, and together they fight to keep disease away. It is believed that there must be a specific ratio between good and bad bacteria in our body for the probiotics to win the fight and that is 80 to 20 for the good bacteria. Sometimes our body fails to support probiotics in their mission, and that is when supplements become an ally, and they help keep the harmful bacteria under control. The number of bacteria classified as probiotics is quite large, but two groups seem to be critical, according to the benefits they bring: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is one of the most common probiotics as it is found in all fermented foods, especially yogurts. This group has many strains, and they are helpful in treating diarrhea and for those that can’t digest lactose.

Bifidobacterium can be found it in some dairy products, and it helps ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and some other conditions related to digestion.

Considering that only recently probiotics became a point of interest for the scientific community, they gain a lot of popularity. For the moment their properties are not fully discovered, but the findings so far give everyone reasons to expect more and better. The list of benefits confirmed up to know includes the improvement of the digestive system, a better skin quality, and even a slimmer figure. Probiotics have the potential to influence many processes and reactions in the body. They can stimulate the regeneration of the cells, and as a result, the skin looks young and fresh. They can also boost the metabolism and rush the process of turning fat into energy to help with the weight loss. Because they can improve so many aspects of health, probiotics were also included in foods and drinks. This way it is easier to protect our health just with your daily routine and the supplements are no longer a must. They have few and mild side effects, so it is safe for almost everyone to use them to improve their health.

The industry of dietary supplements is relatively new and continually changing. The Food and Drug Association tries to keep things under control, but there are not as many rules and regulations as there are for medications. The Association considers probiotics to be closer to foods than to supplements, so the manufacturers of dietary supplements based on probiotics are not strictly controlled. As a consequence, they don’t have to bring any proof that their products are as good as promoted nor if they are safe for use. If you decide to start a treatment based on probiotics, it is better to get a doctor’s opinion and medical advice on the dosage and the most suited type for your needs. So far studies didn’t reveal any dangerous side effects of probiotics. Even so, it is better for people aware of any medical condition or allergies to be cautious when taking dietary supplements and get medical supervision during the treatment.

There is still need for more scientific research on probiotics so both lists of benefits and side effects are opened and can get essential additions at any time. Up to this point, neither of the results indicated severe potential side effects of probiotics. Some people with higher sensitivity to these bacteria reported mild unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, nausea or upset stomach which disappeared when they stopped taking the supplements.

How do probiotics work?

The primary role of probiotics is to help with transporting nutrients extracted from the ingested foods and drinks through the digestive system until they reach the intended destination. They are also “soldiers” who fight to keep bad bacteria from spreading out of control. Researchers concluded that the ratio between good and bad bacteria should be around 80 to 20 in favor of probiotics. When under certain situations this balance is disturbed, the bad bacteria start multiplying, and this is how different disease appear. To regain control over the digestive system, probiotics supplements are needed to re-enforce the “army” and establish back the proper ratio. Scientists still conduct studies to figure out what health problem can be improved or healed by each strain of probiotic so far.

Only in the past few years, probiotics attracted the attention of the medical community, so researchers are still trying to understand precisely how they work. There are two possible approaches they consider:

  • “Good” bacteria sometimes is destroyed after treatment with antibiotics, so probiotic supplements help to replace the lost “good soldiers.”
  • Many of the digestive problems are a result of an unbalanced ratio between probiotics and harmful bacteria, and there is the need of external help to keep the body working properly

The process of controlling the hunger involves a teamwork of probiotics supplements and the digestive enzymes. Together they can increase the metabolism so the fat layers will dissolve faster. With a not so intense sensation of hunger and an increased energy level the results won’t delay in showing up:

  • Fewer cravings for unhealthy and junk food
  • Constant energy level throughout the day
  • The sensation of bloating and the need to visit the bathroom is reduced
  • The layers of fat which were challenging to overcome before are literally melting away

Scientists believe that some probiotics can inhibit the absorption of fats and eliminates them through the digestive system. In other words, Lactobacillus family can diminish the retention of calories from the unhealthy foods in your diet.  Anyway, more studies are needed in order to understand how the mechanism of probiotics works completely.

Probiotics do more than just improve the digestive system and there are studies focused on the multiple benefits these bacteria bring on the entire body. After taking probiotics for a while, as a treatment, many people noticed improvements on various health aspects, such as:

  • A better health of the teeth and the mouth in general
  • Fewer infections of both vaginal and urinary tract
  • Better quality of the skin with fewer rashes and eczema
  • Fewer episodes of allergic reactions or common cold

Probiotics also proved effective for treating health conditions related to digestion like:

  • Diarrhea caused by long-time treatment with antibiotics
  • Diarrhea caused by infections with bacteria, viruses, and parasites
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

How can probiotics reduce weight?

Probiotics are a recent discovery of the medical community, and there is still a lot to learn about how they influence our health. One of the benefits discovered is the fact that they can have a positive influence over the weight loss process. Unfortunately, there are several different theories on how that happens which created a bit of controversy around their properties on fighting obesity and overweight.

Suppress the cravings

People who fight to take back the control over their weight find it very difficult to resist cravings especially for tasty foods that are rich in carbohydrates, sugar or any other fattening substance. Like this is not enough, when someone desperately tries to cut off the calories, the metabolism slows down. As a result, down goes the energy level and the body starts accumulating even more fat. In addition to all these, changing the diet entirely can cause digestion problems. Probiotics can ease the process of weight management and helps:

  • Control cravings that generate compulsive eating
  • Make metabolism work faster and burn fatter
  • Boost the energy level by helping the body absorb the nutrients from food in a more efficient way
  • Improve the digestive process and reduce the cases of bloating after eating

Clinical studies revealed there is a link between our body weight and the balance of two significant strains of good bacteria found in our guts: Firmicutes and bacteroids. These two types of probiotics produce some essential nutrients like vitamins B and K and can break down the fibers left undigested by the body and transform them into beneficial fatty acids like butyrate. These studies conducted both on humans animals, also noticed that the gut bacteria is different from ordinary weight beings that in the case of those obese and overweight. Compared to people with healthy weight, those diagnosed with obesity have more Firmicutes and just a few bacteriocytes. The idea that gut bacteria play an essential role in keeping the weight under control is sustained by other medical trials where the gut bacteria of fat mice were transplanted into the digestive system of lean mice; they also got fat.

Control hormones and reduce belly fat

Inflammation in the brain is another cause for obesity, and this can be reduced by improving the gut health. Probiotics also have other ways of fighting obesity:

  • Release the GLP-1 hormone: Probiotics can reduce appetite by increasing the levels of GLP-1 which is also useful for calories and fat faster
  • Increaseth ANGPTL4 protein: Probiotics can influence the fat storage with the help of ANGPTL4

Certain studies found a link between specific strains of Lactobacillus and the loss of belly fat. Some studies concluded that including in the daily diet yogurts with Lactobacillus fermented or Lactobacillus mycovirus can reduce the waistline by 4% in about six weeks. Other studies focused on the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnose on the weight loss and discovered that after three months woman lost 50% more weight than those taking a placebo. According to some other studies, the most promising Lactobacillus in the fight with body weight is Lactobacillus Gasseri.

Preventing is always better than treating

Preventing fat from forming deposits is the most efficient way of fighting obesity. It was discovered that after four weeks of taking a probiotic known as VSL#3 reduced the fat gaining even in the case of people who eat more than 1000 calories per day. This is proof that certain strains of probiotics can be useful in preventing obesity even in the case of people with high calories diet.

On the other hand, not all studies found a connection between probiotics and weight loss, but they did find certain strains which can lead to overweight and obesity, like Lactobacillus acidophilus.

How to Use Them Safely

There are two types of probiotic supplements: medication like and foods like. There is a huge difference between them when it comes to being controlled by rules and regulations. Food and drinks which contain an addition of probiotics enter under the control of FDA, and they must respect specific standards to be approved for public use. On the other hand, drug companies who manufacture probiotics in the form of dietary supplements don’t answer to any legal authority. They may or may not specify on the label the ingredients and the amount for each one. So before starting any treatment with probiotics, it is better to talk to your doctor to get more information and avoid endangering your health or life.

Under normal circumstances, dietary supplements promoted as entirely natural products shouldn’t cause any health problems to healthy individuals. Regardless of the manufacturer’s good intentions and efforts to cut off from the formula all possible threats and allergy triggers, it is better to get the approval from the doctor before taking any supplement. FDA tries to control as much as possible the products available on the market so the people can buy safe supplements, but the regulation still has loopholes, and sometimes the producers use them to their advantage. Probiotics don’t endanger health; they work to protect it. Some people reported symptoms of gas, stomach disorder or nausea after taking probiotics as supplements. Rare cases of extreme reactions were published, so the general rule for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 18 not to use supplement without medical supervision also applies for probiotics.

Things to Remember

Probiotics are a discovery for the medical community which is fascinated by the wide range of benefits these good bacteria can bring to our health. Even if there is still need for more clinical study results, it is clear that they can improve the digestive system, reduce the risk of cardiovascular risk factors and inflammation and fight hormonal unbalance which causes anxiety and depression.

Still, the influence of probiotics on the body weight is controversial. Specific studies claim to have found connections between different causes of obesity and certain types of probiotics while another state the opposite and reveal strains which can increase the amount of body fat. Lactobacillus Gasseri is considered necessary in reducing the belly fat, and VSL#3 is a mix of probiotics which can fight weight loss even under conditions of a high-calorie diet. In the end, the results depend on the probiotic, and they are mixed, but if combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, probiotic supplements could bring some results in the fight with weight.

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