Probiotics for weight loss
In addition to all the known benefits of probiotics for the intestinal microbiota and, consequently, for the rest of the body, some probiotic strains have also shown their ability to control our body fat level and consequently control weight.
Benefits of probiotics
In the world of health and wellness, probiotics have become one of the most sought-after products for anyone who proactively wants to live a healthier life.
We already know that these probiotics are good intestinal bacteria that bring us benefits by improving our intestinal health and strengthening our immune system. With the intake of probiotics, we get to have a balanced intestinal microbiome, reducing the risk of diseases such as intestinal dysbiosis, SIBO or that we have an increase in intestinal permeability, with the negative consequences that entails.
But in addition to these benefits, for some years now, clinical studies are being developed that demonstrate the use of probiotics for weight loss.
How do probiotics help to lose weight?
Although there are more and more clinical studies on the effect of probiotics in controlling the amount of body fat and weight control, the reality is that currently it is not yet perfectly clear what is the mechanism of action they exert in our body.
What has been seen so far is that there are basically three mechanisms of action for weight reduction by probiotics:
Reduced fat absorption
Some of the latest studies reveal that one of the mechanisms of action is based on the fact that certain probiotic strains reduce the absorption of fat at the intestinal level and promote its elimination through the feces. Thus, we find the strain Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 whose mechanism of action is precisely that, according to a clinical study (1).
We know that one of the most studied beneficial effects of probiotics is their ability to synthesize short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), molecules of great importance to provide the necessary energy in the digestive system.
Well, another of the ways in which probiotics have been shown to help regulate weight and the level of body and visceral fat is thanks to these short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by probiotics, since in addition to their energetic function, they also stimulate the release of two hormones, namely Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY, which in turn act on the hunger center, reducing appetite and increasing satiety (2).
Reduction of fat accumulation in adipocytes
Another mechanism of action of probiotics consists in reducing the size of adipocytes (the cells in our body that are responsible for storing fat) and thus reducing the overall accumulation of fat in the body and increasing the oxidation of fatty acids. They do this by stimulating the synthesis of a protein called Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) which in turn inhibits Lipoprotein lipase which is responsible for the conversion of triglycerides into fatty acids ( 2).
This same mechanism of action through the Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4) was also demonstrated in a study conducted with the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei, which showed the increase of this protein and its relationship with the reduction of accumulated fat, so that the modification of the intestinal microbiota can act on the storage of fat in our body (3).
What probiotics can I take to lose weight?
If we have set out to lose weight, first of all, it should be noted that not all probiotics have shown this ability to regulate abdominal, body and visceral fat, but only some particular strains.
These probiotics can be ingested from food, with the diet, or through probiotic supplements that have in their formula at least one of the strains mentioned in this article. It is important not to confuse the concepts of species and strain.
We already know that the beneficial effects of probiotics are often strain-dependent, i.e. even bacteria of the same species can have different effects depending on the strain involved.
Among the numerous studies conducted, there are some strains that have shown their efficacy in weight reduction, among them are:
The best probiotic for weight loss: Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BPL-1) CECT 8145
Among all probiotics, the strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BPL-1) CECT 8145 is one of the most studied for its effect on the control of abdominal and visceral fat, and as a consequence, a control on weight loss. It is a strain registered and patented by ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), a North American company dedicated to nutritional supplements. The studies carried out on Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BPL-1) CECT 8145 for weight control have been conducted by Spanish scientific experts belonging to ADM Spain.
In the market, we can see that Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BPL-1) is part of the formula of the well-known probiotic product Microbiot Fit from the Mexican laboratory Columbia. A very successful product in Mexico, although it can also be found in Spain under the name of Metabeel.
The intake of this strain improves the anthropometric data of fat markers, especially in women. This reduction of abdominal fat is accompanied by an increase of the bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila, a very important bacterium in the intestinal process and which seems to be related to the control of body fat (4).
Lactobacillus fermentum o Lactobacillus amylovorus.
With these two probiotics, with which a yogurt was prepared, a clinical study (5) was conducted for 6 weeks which resulted in a body fat loss of 3% and 4% respectively among the participants who took these strains versus those who took placebo. Of these two strains, Lactobacillus fermentum is very frequently found in probiotic supplements, while the species Lactobacillus amylovorus is much less known.
This probiotic species is very well known and frequent among the probiotic supplements that we can find in the market. Well, Lactobacillus rhamnosus also has this capacity for weight reduction and obesity control. This was demonstrated in a study with 153 participants, highlighting this weight loss in women compared to male participants, who hardly experienced any changes (6).
This probiotic, a derivative of Kimchi, is not very frequent among the supplements that we can find in the market, but it also demonstrated its capacity in the reduction of obesity, according to the results obtained in this other study (7).
Another well-known probiotic. Lactobacillus gasseri is a well-studied probiotic present in many probiotic supplements.
Specifically, the Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 strain has demonstrated a reduction in abdominal fatby reducing the ability to absorb lipids, facilitating their excretion through the feces (1).
Other studies on this same Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 strain confirm the reduction of abdominal fat, visceral fat, waist circumference and BMI (8).
Other Published Articles
(1) Ogawa A, Kobayashi T, Sakai F, Kadooka Y, Kawasaki Y. Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 suppresses fatty acid release through enlargement of fat emulsion size in vitro and promotes fecal fat excretion in healthy Japanese subjects. Lipids Health Dis. 2015 Mar 20;14:20. doi: 10.1186/s12944-015-0019-0. PMID: 25884980; PMCID: PMC4391304.
(2) Wiciński M, Gębalski J, Gołębiewski J, Malinowski B. Probiotics for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Humans-A Review of Clinical Trials. Microorganisms. 2020 Jul 29;8(8):1148. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8081148. PMID: 32751306; PMCID: PMC7465252.
(3) Aronsson L, Huang Y, Parini P, Korach-André M, Håkansson J, Gustafsson JÅ, Pettersson S, Arulampalam V, Rafter J. Decreased fat storage by Lactobacillus paracasei is associated with increased levels of angiopoietin-like 4 protein (ANGPTL4). PLoS One. 2010 Sep 30;5(9):e13087. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013087. PMID: 20927337; PMCID: PMC2948012
(4) Pedret A, Valls RM, Calderón-Pérez L, Llauradó E, Companys J, Pla-Pagà L, Moragas A, Martín-Luján F, Ortega Y, Giralt M, Caimari A, Chenoll E, Genovés S, Martorell P, Codoñer FM, Ramón D, Arola L, Solà R. Effects of daily consumption of the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 on anthropometric adiposity biomarkers in abdominally obese subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Sep;43(9):1863-1868. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0220-0. Epub 2018 Sep 27. PMID: 30262813; PMCID: PMC6760601.
(5) Jaclyn M. Omar, Yen-Ming Chan, Mitchell L. Jones, Satya Prakash, Peter J.H. Jones, Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus as probiotics alter body adiposity and gut microflora in healthy persons, Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2013, Pages 116-123, ISSN 1756-4646,
(6) Sanchez M, Darimont C, Drapeau V, Emady-Azar S, Lepage M, Rezzonico E, Ngom-Bru C, Berger B, Philippe L, Ammon-Zuffrey C, Leone P, Chevrier G, St-Amand E, Marette A, Doré J, Tremblay A. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 28;111(8):1507-19. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513003875. Epub 2013 Dec 3. PMID: 24299712.
(7) Lim S, Moon JH, Shin CM, Jeong D, Kim B. Effect of Lactobacillus sakei, a Probiotic Derived from Kimchi, on Body Fat in Koreans with Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Study. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2020 Jun;35(2):425-434. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2020.35.2.425. Epub 2020 Jun 24. PMID: 32615727; PMCID: PMC7386112.
(8) Kadooka, Y., Sato, M., Ogawa, A., Miyoshi, M., Uenishi, H., Ogawa, H., . . . Tsuchida, T. (2013). Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(9), 1696-1703. doi:10.1017/S0007114513001037