Talking about the best probiotics for weight loss in women might sound like an obvious scam. However, we know that probiotic bacteria in the gut are essential for a healthy metabolism which is associated with weight. Let’s answer two simple questions:
- Could some specific bacteria be in control of body weight?
- Might there even be specific bacteria strains that promote weight loss in women but not in men?
Several recent studies reveal that, among the hundreds of bacteria species colonizing the digestive tract, a few specific bacteria are in fact involved in weight control. Some bacteria as Akkermansia muciniphila even have the unique ability to affect the rate of weight loss of both women and men. In addition to Akkermansia muciniphila, researchers have now found another probiotic bacteria that seems to work best for weight loss in women only.
Best probiotics for weight loss in women
Consuming probiotics promotes weight loss. However, certain bacteria are better for women than for men. (Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed some surprising results—there might exist probiotic bacteria that support weight loss only in women.
Previous studies have already demonstrated that the intestinal flora of obese individuals differs from that of thin people. This difference is likely due to a person’s diet and lifestyle. An unhealthy diet high in sugar, processed foods, low-quality fat and low in fibre will promote the growth of bacteria species promoting weight gain at the expense of other beneficial bacteria supporting weight loss. Therefore researchers tried to determine if the consumption of certain probiotic bacteria could help reset the balance of the gut in favour of bacteria that promote a healthy weight.
Researchers tested this on 125 obese men and women that during 12 weeks were put on a weight-loss diet. After this followed 12 weeks trying to maintain body weight. During this time, half of the subjects took 2 pills daily containing the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The other half of the group received a placebo—a pill without active contents.
Remarkable weight loss for women
On the average, there was a weight loss of 4.4 kg (almost 10 pounds) in women in the group taking probiotics and 2.6 kg (just under 6 pounds) in the placebo group not taking a probiotic supplement. However, there was no difference in weight loss among males in the two groups.
“We don’t know why the probiotics didn’t have any effect on men. It may be a question of dosage, or the study period may have been too short,” says Professor Tremblay, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance.
After an additional 12-weeks period trying to maintain their weight, the women in the placebo group had remained stable but the probiotic group had continued to lose weight; in total, these women lost 5.2 kg (11.5 pounds) per person. This is twice as much as the control group.
- Overweight women consuming Lactobacillus rhamnosus lost 5.2 kg (11.5 pounds) over a 24-week period
Researchers also noted a drop in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin in this group, as well as a lower overall concentration of the intestinal bacteria related to weight gain and obesity. This indicates that certain probiotic gut bacteria influence a person’s weight. How is this possible?
It is likely that probiotic bacteria affect the permeability of the intestinal wall. By keeping certain pro-inflammatory substances from entering the bloodstream, beneficial bacteria help to prevent the chain reaction that leads to glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
Probiotic bacteria also communicates with the brain and can thereby increase or decrease appetite which is a powerful factor in weight control.
Weight loss bacteria designed for women?
The Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain used in this study are found in some yoghurts and in many probiotic supplements. But researchers believe other probiotics bacteria found in dairy products in North America could have a similar effect on weight. However, the benefits of these bacteria increase with an adequate fibre intake.
- L. rhamnosus affects certain brain regions and lowers the stress hormone corticosterone. Thus this bacteria has the ability to reduce anxiety and depression.
- L. rhamnosus promotes the destruction of harmful bacteria and absorption of minerals by aiding in the digestion of lactose. It causes the body to manufacture natural antibiotic substances to fight disease, increasing your resistance to viral infections.
If you’re a woman who wants to lose weight, you might want to try a probiotic supplement containing large amounts of L. rhamnosus. Here are two suggestions:
- Dr Mercola Complete Probiotics
This same bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, is also added to some yoghurt brands.
One of the best sources of L rhamnosus is homemade fermented food using a starter culture containing L. rhamnosus. Dr Mercola Kinetic Culture contains L. rhamnosus and other highly beneficial bacteria. This is a great starter culture for preparing fermented vegetables.
Gut bacteria communicate with your brain
Research on probiotic bacteria indicates that beneficial bacteria in your gut communicate with your brain through the vagus nerve. This is why some gut bacteria can control your appetite. One example is the feedback loop between the foods you crave and the microorganisms in your gut. These microorganisms depend on certain nutrients to survive and therefore create a craving for such foods.
For example, microbes that feed on sugar can signal your brain to consume more sweets. People who suffer from Candida overgrowth often have severe sugar cravings because Candida feeds on sugar for their survival.
- Changing the diet can quickly alter gut bacteria composition!
This illustrates how each person can ultimately control the composition of the intestinal microflora. How is that? Because the food we decide to eat will affect the composition of bacteria in the digestive tract. Therefore, the diet directly impacts the community of microorganisms colonizing your gut—for better or for worse.
10 tips for weight loss
The latest research all point in one direction: Feeding the colony of gut bacteria will promote weight loss.
- Consume fermented foods. Yoghurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables on a daily basis can have a tremendous effect on your gut and help balance your gut and control appetite. Homemade cultured foods are packed with probiotic bacteria and you can even control which beneficial bacteria are included.
- L. rhamnosus. As a woman you will maximize weight loss benefits if you consume Lactobacillus rhamnosus daily; you do not need very high doses. Men will benefit also but in other ways than weight loss.
- A. muciniphila also promote weight loss. This bacterium is very powerful and can help both men and women. Read more here.
- A good probiotic supplement. This is a simple, fast way to get going in the right direction. However, choose a probiotic supplement carefully.
- Add extra fibre. A simple but highly effective way to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria already colonizing the gut. Fibre also promotes bowel movement. Psyllium husk is a natural and excellent source of fibre that probiotic bacteria love and consume.
- Lower sugar intake. A high sugar intake can cause bacteria responsible for weight gain and obesity to dominate your digestive tract. People with such imbalances have very difficult losing weight as they have a two-front battle—a strong appetite and gut bacteria promoting weight gain.
- Control stress. Stress can disrupt the delicate balance in your digestive tract.
- Antibiotics only when needed. Do not use as a quick fix. And when on antibiotics, add a probiotic supplement daily and continue taking probiotics long after completing the antibiotics course. The onslaught of antibiotics on the gut can be severe and can take a long time to repair.
- Exercise. A great way to maximize weight loss. Especially short bursts of high-intensity training have proven very beneficial. But everything counts, walking is great.
- Intermittent fasting. It means to eat all meals within a 6-10 hours window every day. Some have the last meal at 6 PM, then they skip breakfast the next morning and have the meal at noon. This way the body has been in a fasting state for 10-12 hours. This has proven very beneficial for the gut and increase weightloss.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114513003875 Marina Sanchez, Christian Darimont, Vicky Drapeau, Shahram Emady-Azar, Melissa Lepage, Enea Rezzonico, Catherine Ngom-Bru, Bernard Berger, Lionel Philippe, Corinne Ammon-Zuffrey, Patricia Leone, Genevieve Chevrier, Emmanuelle St-Amand, André Marette, Jean Doré and Angelo Tremblay. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. British Journal of Nutrition, available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S0007114513003875.