As it is said ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ and if you have miserably failed to shed those extra pounds from your body, there is actually a way out. Bacteria seem to be booming with the phrase ‘Probiotics which are so called good bacteria similar to organisms that naturally occur in the digestive tract’. Are you wondering how gut flora is key to achieving your optimal size? Well, probiotics are ‘friendly bacteria’ and have been linked to all sorts of health benefits including weight loss. Yes, you heard it right. Bacteria reduce body fat by preventing the intestines from absorbing fat calories. A recent study published in a renowned Journal of Nutrition links probiotic strain to fat loss.
How does probiotic help to lose weight?
From its definition itself- ‘pro’ meaning promotion and ‘biotic’ meaning life, probiotic affirms life and health. It influence the way your body digests food. Have you ever thought that your weight problem can actually crop up from unhealthy digestive system? Study reveals that gut bacteria actually varies significantly between the obese and the lean. It has been discovered that overweight people have 20% more of ‘bad bacteria’ called firmicutes and 90% less of good bacteria known as bacteroidetes when compared to lean equivalents. Firmicutes makes your body extract calories from complex sugar and deposit them as fat. As a result your body gain excess fat. Probiotics, as experts feel, are especially useful when your body’s normal bacteria are interrupted. This happens usually when you are ill, stressed, taking antibiotics or traveling.
You must ensure that there is regular supply of good bacteria in your digestive system because 80% of your immune system is located here. So supporting your digestive system is essential for supporting a healthy immune system. Probiotics in your gut help in several bodily functions including
- Digestion and absorption of certain carbohydrates
- Keeping bad bacteria under control
- Absorbing minerals, producing vitamins and eliminating toxins
- Preventing allergies
Excess of unhealthy bacteria in your gut can manifests in countless diseases. And despite a healthy diet and regular exercise you will have difficulty shedding weight. Usually these unhealthy bacteria cause low-grade inflammation in the body thereby contributing to obesity.
Probiotics and its relation with Ghrelin and Leptin hormones:
Scientists have recently discovered that Ghrelin and leptin the two important hormones responsible for sending hunger signal to the brain stop functioning properly when your body contains inadequate levels of probiotics. The decreased level of probiotic results in decrease in leptin production which increases the urge to overeat and gain body weight. However, adding with probiotics demonstrate a noteworthy influence on the production of body’s fat burning hormones ghrelin and leptin thereby helping you to lose weight drastically.
It has also been observed that supplementing with probiotics after gastric bypass help patients lose nearly 15% of weight than non-probiotic users. Even women supplementing with probiotic immediately after child delivery can lose about 25% of their belly fat than women who are not supplemented with probiotics.
There are several forms of probiotics. One of the most important bacteria is called H.pylori that interacts with Ghrelin and Leptin to shed excess pounds. One instance of inadequate probiotic is the overuse of antibiotics especially in the developed countries. These antibiotics decreases the probiotic level especially H.pylori in the body and such reduced level of probiotics results in low leptin production. If a body produce less amount of leptin, there is automatically an urge to overeat. Therefore, probiotics is required to stabilize the hormone and return it to normal level. But how do you benefit from this? Well, with an increased level of leptin production the body’s ability to lose weight also gets enhanced.
It has also been found that probiotics benefits metabolic syndrome which is closely associated with obesity. Abnormal metabolic syndrome happens due to diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats which leads to insulin resistance. This fuels the growth of unhealthy bacteria and excess body fat.
What interferes with healthy bacteria?
Gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of the body. But they are vulnerable to the lifestyle you choose. If you eat a lot of processed and junk foods your gut bacteria gets compromised because these processed foods destroy the healthy microflora and feed yeast and bad bacteria. So, besides eating foods rich in healthy bacteria, you should definitely avoid foods that encourage the growth of bad bacteria. To make it simple, choose a lifestyle that do not necessitates the use of antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, agricultural chemical, pollutions and chlorinated water as your gut bacteria is sensitive to these factors.
The probiotic foods you can choose:
You can use probiotics in different forms, including foods, powder supplements, tablets, capsules. You can choose any form as long as it contains enough organisms to grow in the intestines. However, effective dose varies. From 50 million to as 1 trillion live cells per dose. The most natural forms of probiotic foods are fermented foods. These include yogurt, kefir, spicy pickled cabbage, sauerkraut and pickles.
Adding the below mentioned food to your diet can help to regulate your gut flora:
- Yogurt drink
- Tempeh, cooked fermented soya beans
- Fermented vegetables including celery, collards, kale, kimchi and sauerkraut
- Fermented raw milk such organic yogurt with lie cultures or kefir
- Natto, a Japanese delicacy rich in beneficial bacteria
However, if you regularly eat these fermented foods which are not properly pasteurized, the healthy gut bacteria will thrive again. If these foods are not a part of your everyday diet or if you have recently taken antibiotics, a high-quality probiotic supplements will provide the gut bacteria the healthy boost it require.
However, if you are not sure whether you are getting enough probiotics from your diet you can use daily supplements such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Experts say that it is always better to switch supplements every month or two. However, mega-probiotics which have more bacterial strains aren’t necessarily better. Powder, pills and liquid shots are also effective but the success of these products has more to do with specific microbes it contains.
Thank you for the information Santanu. I appreciate your effort in posting such informative article. Probiotics reduce the number of calories you absorb from food and inflammation which can drive obesity. Some strains of the Lactobacillus family such as Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus have been shown to reduce weight and belly fat. Lactobacillus gasseri appears to be the most effective.