Are you struggling to lose weight despite making changes to your diet and exercise routine? A slow metabolism could be the culprit. Fortunately, probiotics – the friendly bacteria found in certain foods and supplements – can help rev up your metabolism and support weight loss. Explore how probiotics can aid in weight loss and learn some tips for incorporating probiotics into your diet.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in the right amounts. These friendly bacteria are commonly found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso. They can also be taken as supplements in the form of pills, powders, or liquids.
How do probiotics impact metabolism?
The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract and play a crucial role in digestion, metabolism, and overall health. Probiotics are known for improving digestion and boosting the immune system by restoring the natural balance of bacteria in the gut and promoting the growth of beneficial microbes.
Metabolic disorders, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, can develop when the gut microbiome is disrupted. Some probiotic strains were found to affect specific metabolic pathways in the body. Certain strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are linked to increased short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) levels in the gut. SCFAs are important energy sources and are linked to improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
Probiotics may also influence the hormones that regulate the balance of appetite and energy (leptin and ghrelin). Studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics can increase the levels of these hormones, leading to reduced appetite and calorie intake.
Best probiotics for boosting metabolism
Three strains have been studied for their potential metabolic benefits:
- Lactobacillus gasseri has been found to reduce body weight and fat mass.
- Bifidobacterium lactis has been shown to improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus has been studied for its potential role in weight management and metabolic health.
There are some studies on the metabolic benefits of probiotics in Singapore. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that overweight adults who ate probiotic yoghurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis had a significantly reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference compared to a control group.
Another study published in the journal Nutrients found that a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus gasseri and some other strains of Bifidobacterium effectively reduced body weight and waist circumference of overweight and obese adults in Singapore.
Even if more research is needed to understand their metabolic benefits fully, there is growing evidence suggesting that probiotics can be valuable for weight management and metabolic health.
How to incorporate probiotics into your diet
Incorporating probiotics into your diet is a simple and effective way to boost your metabolism. Here are some tips for you to follow:
- Eat fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh because they are a rich source of probiotics. Look for products with live and active cultures, and consider trying different fermented foods to vary your probiotic intake.
- Probiotic health supplements help increase your probiotic intake. Select those that contain the strains mentioned above and follow the recommended dosage.
Incorporating probiotics into your diet is not a one-time fix but a lifestyle change. Be consistent in consuming probiotics regularly and consider keeping a food diary or using a health supplement tracking app to help you stay on track.
Choosing Probiotic Supplements
Consider the following factors if you are looking for the best probiotic supplement for weight loss:
- Look for specific strains, especially those mentioned above.
- Check the colony-forming unit (CFU) count. It measures the number of live bacteria in a probiotic supplement. Choose products that contain at least 1 billion CFUs per serving to get an effective dose of probiotics.
- You may want to select a probiotic supplement containing multiple probiotic strains (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains).
- Check the expiration date on the supplement, as probiotics’ effectiveness can diminish over time.
- Probiotic supplements can be sensitive to moisture, light, and heat, so look for products with opaque and airtight packaging.
- Check if the supplement has been tested for purity, potency, and effectiveness.