The Best Probiotics to Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

If you are struggling to lose weight or keep it off, you know how hard it can be to make a long term lifestyle change. While we can only hope for a ‘magic pill’ that will solve all of our problems without the need for diet and exercise, it isn’t available yet.

However, the good news is that there are probiotic supplements that science shows may help you lose weight and control control it so you can achieve your ideal weight.

Growing scientific evidence suggests that probiotics play a role not only in improving digestive health, reducing risk factors to the heart, boost immunity but also in losing weight and preventing fat and weight gain. However, not all probiotics have the same effect, so it is important to select the correct supplement for weight control.

Probiotics And Body Weight Regulation

In general, probiotics are live friendly bacteria that have health benefits when you eat them. Probiotics are available in supplements and in fermented foods. Probiotics add a boost to the hundreds of different friendly microorganisms that naturally live in your digestive system.

A healthy gut has two main types of friendly bateria: firmicutes and bacteroidetes. Based on scientific studies, body weight appears to be related to the balance of these two families of bacteria. People struggling with obesity had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to people with normal-weight [1].

Human and animal studies have also found that normal-weight people have different gut bacteria than overweight or obese people.  Animal studies have also shown that when gut bacteria from obese mice are placed in the guts of leaner mice, the lean mice became fat [2].

Taken together, these studies suggest that gut bacteria may play a powerful role in weight reduction.

So How Can Probiotics Help Lose Weight and Belly Fat?

Scientists think that certain probiotics may inhibit the absorption of dietary fat, resulting in an increase in the amount of fat excreted when you poop [3]. This means that calories your body would otherwise absorb and store as fat pass through your system instead.Lose Belly Fat with Probiotics

Only certain bacteria, such as Lactobacillus Gasseri, have been shown to inhibit fat absorption.  While many probiotics supplements contain other types of Lactobacillus, only a few — such as LiveWell Lab’s Pro45 or Swanson L Gasseri Probiotics— contain Lactobacillus Gasseri.  When selecting a probiotic supplement for weight loss, make sure it contains this type of bacteria.

In addition, there are other ways that probiotics can help with weight loss.

  • The appetite-reducing hormone Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) slows down absorption of carbs so you feel fuller sooner and consume fewer calories. Probiotics may help stimulate the release of this hormone [4].
  • The probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei can regulate storage of fat by increasing levels of a protein that inhibits such storage [5].

Finally, there is growing evidence that inflammation in the brain is linked to obesity. Improving gut health by using probiotics seems to reduce systematic inflammation and provide protection against obesity and other types of diseases.

However, keep in mind that all of the mechanisms behind how probiotics helps control belly fat and weight loss are not understood.  New research is constantly providing a more complete understanding of this important relationship.

Losing Weight Is Only Half the Battle. How Can Probiotics Help Stop Weight Gain?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure goes the old saying.  Some probiotic supplements appear to stop weight from coming back. In one 4 week study, people were overfed by 1,000 calories a day. (To burn this many extra calories, you’d need to walk about another four and a half hours each day!)  People in the study given probiotic supplement VSL#3 (now sold as Visbiome) gain significantly less fat and body mass than those who did not receive the probiotic [6].

Research is just starting to scratch the surface of what probiotics can do, but this study indicates that strains found in VSL#3 seem to be effective at preventing weight gain and fat. VSL#3 is available without a prescription.

The Bottom Line

Probiotics offer many healthful benefits. When selecting a probiotics supplement to lose weight and belly fat, it is important to select the correct one.

Emerging scientific evidence is showing that Lactobacillus Gasseri may help people struggling with obesity to lose weight. Additionally, VSL#3 seems to help prevent excessive weight gain when eating a high-calorie diet.

Besides weight loss, there are many other reasons to use probiotic supplements. They can improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, improve risk factors associated with poor heart health, and may even help fight anxiety and depression.

To get started, use one of the links below to place an order via Amazon. Swanson is a good choice if you are on a budget. However, I recommend Visbiome (formerly VSL #3) because it has been studied in the medical literature quite a bit. With that said, all three of these contain probiotics shown to help with weight loss.

[1] Nature. 2009 Jan 22;457(7228):480-4
[2] Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1027-31
[3] Lipids in Health and Disease 2014 13:36
[4] J Biol Chem. 2013 Aug 30;288(35):25088-97
[5] PLoS One. 2010 Sep 30;5(9)
[6] Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Dec;23(12):2364-70

6 thoughts on “The Best Probiotics to Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

  1. VSL#3 was recommended to me by my doctor. It is on the expensive side but works for me. It took a couple of months to get my system settled. One thing your article doesn’t mention is that VSL#3 needs to be refrigerated.

    • That is a great point about needing to keep VSL#3 refrigerated Beth! Most vendors ship these in Styrofoam contains with ice packs so they are protected from heat during shipping. The packaging does say that they can be kept at room temperature for up to two weeks without harming its effectiveness. Still, if you are ordering in a warm area during the summer you might want to make sure that you aren’t going to be out of the area when it arrives.

  2. I do think swanson was helpful for my weight management. I had read somewhare that this strain of good bacteria was not usually found in most probiotic products. I take one twice a day. it’s not like the pounds melted off yet I believe it did help me stabilize my weight. Of course activity and monitoring you diet must continue.

    • You make an important point that diet and activity (exercise) are important as well. Probiotics aren’t the magic pill we all really want, but it looks like they can make things just a bit easier. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  3. VSL 3 is a fantastic product. Bathroom visits are normal now. I lost 10 pounds so far. I take it in the morning after breakfast with something cold to drink with it.

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