Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?
By Donna Barsky, D.PH., R.PH. and Christina Reiter, CCN, Collin LIVING WELL Magazine
Probiotics seem to be hot buzzwords in the nutritional product industry right now. Lately, probiotics were talked about on the Dr. Oz show. Every week brings news of another benefit tied to these tiny bacteria that naturally congregate by the millions in your gut and intestines. Recent research has shown probiotics can aid digestion, affect your mood, and even help to build your immunity. A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, links one probiotic strain to fat loss. But can you really trust the new claims made for weight reduction?
To answer this question, we asked the certified clinical nutritionist at Texas Star Pharmacy, Christina Reiter, for her opinion. “Well, we first have to look at the science to separate fact from fiction,” Christina says.
A team of Japanese researchers separated 200 obese people into three groups. While everyone in the group consumed a daily 7-ounce serving of fermented milk, only two of the groups consumed milk that was treated with a probiotic called Lactobacillus gasseri (strain SBT2055). Past research has tied this strain of probiotic to fat loss. During the results of the study, the group who drank the probiotic-laced milk dropped roughly 10% of their visceral fat—a particularly unhealthy fat type that layers itself around your heart and organs, affecting longevity. Both of these probiotic-treated groups also lost 1 to 3% of their belly fat, the study shows.
“Your intestines are built to manage the digestion and absorption of the foods you eat, therefore it’s entirely possible the probiotic used in the study reduces inflammation in the gastro-intestinal tract and enhances digestion, both of which could reduce body fat and abdominal distention,” Christina reasons. “But here’s the real issue: Most people aren’t going to be able to find it unless they go to a qualified healthcare professional or come to Texas Star Pharmacy.” To test her theory, we tried to find the probiotic used in the study at the Vitamin Shoppe, at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and lastly, GNC. We found ourselves back at Texas Star again, where Christina showed us four different brands carried by our store.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that, while some bacteria found in probiotics assist with weight loss, others contribute to obesity— but it’s important to note that those bacteria and other ingredients belong to an entirely different class and are not meant for everyone to take—each person has a unique constitution and biochemical make up not unlike a fingerprint that is unique. For instance, if you are having problems combating chronic candidiasis (a yeast-overgrowth issue), you would not want to take a probiotic containing any yeast-derived strains such as Saccharomyces and ingredients termed “pre-biotics” such as fructoligosaccharides (FOS, a sugar which provides fuel for most good bacteria) because of the simple fact that yeast and fungal organisms also survive on sugars in addition to using yeast itself as a source of food.
Your Take Home Message: The research supports the digestive and weight loss claims of probiotics. “There’s definitely a reason to pick up probiotics if you’re dieting to lose weight, especially if you want to eliminate it from around the abdominal area.” Christina says, “Just, don’t count on a probiotic to replace your treadmill or diet plan…”
If you are in need of weight loss or just want to be as healthy as you can be, call us at TexasStar Pharmacy, make an appointment with our Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Christina Reiter, and start with your own body composition benchmark on your journey to quality health.
We are still at 3033 W. Parker Rd., Plano, TX 75023, 972-519-8475 with store #2 at 5425 W. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75024, 214-291-5087. We can’t wait to meet you.