If you’re planning to lose weight, you probably already know that a healthy diet and moving your body are two of the most important parts of that goal. You may even have looked into supplements that can help… The array of fat burners promising shocking results can be a little intimidating.
But there’s one supplement that can make a bigger difference than you realize, and unlike a lot of them, it’s something all-natural and healthy. Probiotic supplements.
Yes, they’re not sexy like those fat burners with pictures of rippled muscles on them. But if you want to lose weight with very few side effects and supercharge your metabolism at the same time, you should definitely be adding these to your diet.
What Are Probiotics And What Do They Do?
Probiotics are live organisms that are found in the gut, also known as good bacteria. Their job is to maintain the health of your digestive system, by fighting off bad bacteria, breaking down fiber, helping your body to absorb nutrients properly, and move food through your gut by assisting the nerves that create gut movement.
They’re generally used to treat digestive disorders and bring your gut back to a state of health. Probiotics have been used to treat IBS (1), diarrhea (from antibiotics, bacteria, viruses, or parasites (2), and excessive gassiness.
Surprisingly, there’s research out there to show that probiotics can also help to treat non-gut-related issues, like skin conditions (3), female reproductive health (4), allergies (5), dental health (6), and even mental health conditions (7).
You may be shocked to learn that almost all the serotonin in the body—the happy hormone—is produced in the gut! The quality of your gut bacteria also plays a huge role in maintaining the health of your immune system.
So as you can see, probiotics actually play a huge role in the body. They’re not just creepy bacteria in your gut—they’re an essential part of the digestive system, immune system, and even your mental system.
How Do Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?
So now that you know what they’re good at, how can probiotics help you lose weight? Well, the functions they perform in the body can have some specific effects, like increasing heat in the body, which in turn increases calorie burn.
Interestingly, probiotics can also help to reduce your appetite by producing specific hormones that help you to feel full (8). So when you’re eating less because you’re full and your body is burning more calories, you’re already on the best track to dropping those extra pounds.
Research has shown that the gut bacteria in obese people is different to that in lean people. Lean people tend to have more good bacteria in their gut microbiome, while overweight people seem to have less good stuff and more bad bacteria.
When your gut is doing an effective job of absorbing nutrients and getting rid of waste, there’s also less that gets stored as fat. And then there’s the fact that probiotics help to reduce inflammation, which can significantly help your body to process things more easily!
Are There Any Dangers of Using Probiotics?
Probiotics may be all-natural, but they’re not regulated like medications. Even the FDA classifies probiotics as foods and regulates them by food standards instead of medicine standards.
While this means that they’re deemed safe for consumption, they aren’t subject to the rigorous testing and strict guidelines that medicines are. Basically, the producers of probiotics don’t have to prove that their products are safe or effective.
That being said, they’re natural supplements but you should do some research of your own to make sure there’s nothing dodgy in them.
There may be some light side effects when you first start taking probiotics. You may have some bloating or a bit of an upset stomach for a few days after beginning, but as your stomach gets used to them, that will ease up.
Take note that people with immune system disorders shouldn’t take probiotics. If you’re one of these people, you should check with your doctor before considering taking a probiotic supplement.
How to Choose the Best Probiotics for Weight Loss
Wondering how to choose the best probiotics for weight loss? Whether you’re looking to drop the pounds fast, maintain good weight management, or improve your gut health, here’s what you should look for in a probiotic supplement.
Choose Your Strain
Not all probiotic strains show the same promise for weight loss. Some are amazing for bringing harmony to the gut, but certain ones are looking great for helping you to shed the weight. Make sure the supplement you choose includes one or more of the following:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus: The most popular weight-loss probiotic strain. Studies have shown its effectiveness in rats with a high fat diet, and it does the same for humans (9).
- Lactobacillus Gasseri: Research shows excellent results in reducing dangerous visceral fat (10).
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum: Multiple bifidobacterium strains have been proven effective in the fight against fat (11).
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus: Studies show that this strain can help to reduce appetite quite significantly (12).
- Lactobacillus Plantarum: Another strain that shows great promise for weight loss (13).
Some dietary supplements need to be refrigerated in order to stay healthy. Remember, probiotics are living bacteria, and some of them need to be stored in cooler temperatures to actually stay alive.
If you aren’t able to store yours in the fridge, you may want to choose a shelf-stable probiotic supplement instead.
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It’s always a great idea to use a probiotic supplement that’s third-party tested and comes from a company who’s transparent about their ingredients and processes. This gives you the highest chance of finding a quality product.
You get probiotic supplements that are vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free, so if you have specific dietary requirements, check before you buy!
Other Tips and Tricks for Losing Weight Faster
The effects of probiotics on weight loss are proven by the research. But you can’t just continue to eat junk food, not exercise, and expect to lose weight just because you’re taking probiotic supplements.
Here are our top tips and tricks for getting the best health benefits out of your probiotics.
Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods
It can be tough to figure out which foods contain probiotics. The easiest way to remember is that fermented foods are probiotic foods! If you want your diet to boost your digestive health with natural probiotics, add these foods to your diet:
- Pickled vegetables
Don’t Forget the Prebiotics!
Prebiotics are what probiotics eat! If you want to strengthen the good bacteria in your gut, you want to be feeding them the good stuff. The easiest way to do this is to look for a supplement called a synbiotic, which is a combination of probiotics and prebiotics.
Drink Enough Water
There’s a ton of information out there about how staying hydrated helps your digestive processes (14). Firstly, hunger and thirst are regulated in the same part of the brain, so when you think you’re feeling peckish and snacking, you might actually just be thirsty!
Secondly, good hydration can boost metabolic processes and improve nutrient absorption. This also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, preventing overeating to a degree.
Nothing helps you lose weight like exercise. Even a 30-minute walk at a leisurely pace can help you burn more calories, which is essential when it comes to losing fat.
Probiotics can improve your gut health and digestive processes, but the only way you’ll lose fat is if you’re burning more calories than you’re eating. Exercise helps!
You’re not going to see results overnight. Commit to eating a calorie-controlled diet of healthy, probiotic-rich foods, increasing your hydration, exercising regularly, and taking your probiotics consistently for at least 12 weeks. You may not recognize yourself at the end!