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Probiotics and Weight Loss
Updated on September 15, 2022
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Diet / Weight Loss
Microbiome
Probiotics and Weight Loss

About 41.9% of people in the U.S. are obese.1 Excess body fat increases a person’s risk for metabolic disorders like diabetes and heart disease.

The demand for probiotic supplements has become popular in recent years. They contain live microorganisms that promote intestinal health.

People have started turning to probiotics for many health conditions, including weight problems. 

We asked Dr. Rizza Mira to explain the connection between gut flora and a person’s weight. She is a general practitioner who also specializes in nutrition and dietetics.

Probiotics and Weight Loss 2

The Role of Gut Bacteria on Your Health

The bacteria in your gut help with vitamin production, digestion, and metabolism. 

They help break down food, including those you can’t digest, such as fibers. This allows you to get the most out of every meal.

Gut bacteria also affect how much fatty acids are stored in your tissues. This may explain the link between your gut flora and your weight.

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Gut Microbiome and Obesity — Is There A Connection?

Obesity usually results from a high-calorie diet. Your genes and lifestyle may also play a role in your weight.

The types of food you eat, how much sleep you get, and other factors can cause your gut microbiome to lose its balance. This is known as gut dysbiosis.

“An unhealthy population of gut microbiota causes overt inflammation in the body. It’s a common culprit for metabolic diseases and obesity,” says Rizza Mira, M.D.

Imbalances in gut bacteria can affect your mood, metabolism, and appetite. It can increase your stress levels, disrupt your sleep, and alter your hormone levels. 

The combination of these factors increases your risk for weight gain and obesity.

Effects of Gut Flora on Weight

Your gut bacteria won’t make you lose or gain weight. However, they affect many bodily functions that can influence your weight. 

Gut Flora Imbalance and Weight Gain

Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes are two of the most dominant bacteria in your gut. 

A higher ratio of Firmicutes is linked to obesity. Meanwhile, a decreased ratio is related to irritable bowel disease (IBD).2

Obese people generally have more Firmicutes and less Bacteroides in their gut. Too many Firmicutes can reduce your energy consumption, causing weight gain.

Gut Flora and Weight Loss

Having a diverse microbiome may keep you from gaining excess body weight. Some studies found increased Bacteroidetes in people who are losing weight. 

“Bacteroidetes are a special population of gut bacteria. They break apart bulky starches so that the body is able to use them efficiently,” says Dr. Mira.

Your diet can influence the delicate balance of microorganisms in your gut. Stay away from foods high in fat and sucrose because they change your gut flora.

Do Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?

When there are too many harmful bacteria, your risk for obesity increases. The balance between good and bad bacteria helps keep you at a healthy weight.

Probiotics can improve your gut health and restore good gut bacteria. Studies show they can help your body burn fat faster and reduce weight gain.3 

Probiotic supplements are a good source of beneficial gut bacteria. They usually contain Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which promote gut balance.3 

Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and pickles are also great sources of healthy probiotics.

Keep in mind that while gut health is important, diet is still the largest contributor to weight and obesity. If you’re trying to achieve a healthy weight, you may want to reach a calorie deficit.

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Dr. Rizza Mira
Dr. Rizza Mira
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Rizza Mira is a medical doctor and a general practitioner who specializes in pediatrics, nutrition, dietetics, and public health.

As a pediatrician, she is dedicated to the general health and well-being of children and expecting parents. She believes that good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of illness are key to ensuring the health of children and their families.

When she’s not in the hospital, Rizza advocates and mobilizes causes like breastfeeding, vaccination drives, and initiatives to prevent illness in the community.
Jennifer Anyabuine
Jennifer Anyabuine
Content Contributor
Jennifer Anyabuine is a content writer with KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry. She has been writing for 2 years. Her focus is women’s health, fitness, mental health, and general wellness.
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