Certain probiotics could help women lose weight

Certain probiotics could help women lose weight and keep it off, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Studies have already demonstrated that the intestinal flora of obese individuals differs from that of thin people. That difference may be due to the fact that a diet high in fat and low in fiber promotes certain bacteria at the expense of others. A Canadian researcher, Angelo Tremblay, tried to determine if the consumption of probiotics could help reset the balance of the intestinal micro biota in favor of bacteria that promote a healthy weight.

To test their hypothesis, researchers recruited 125 overweight men and women. The subjects underwent a 12-week weight loss diet, followed by a 12-week period aimed at maintaining body weight. Throughout the entire study, half the participants swallowed two pills daily containing probiotics from a type of Lactobacillus, while the other half received a placebo.

After the 12-week diet period, researchers observed an average weight loss of 9.7 lbs. in women in the probiotic group and 5.7 lbs. in the placebo group. However, no differences in weight loss were observed 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,” said Professor Tremblay, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance.

After the 12-week maintenance period, the weight of the women in the placebo group had remained stable but the probiotic group continued to lose weight, for a total of 11.5 lbs. per person. In short, women consuming probiotics lost twice as much weight over the 24-week period of the study. 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 obesity.

According to Tremblay, probiotics may act by altering the permeability of the intestinal wall. By keeping certain pro-inflammatory molecules from entering the bloodstream, they might help prevent the chain reaction that leads to glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes and obesity. He stresses, however, that the benefits of these bacteria are more likely to be observed in a favorable nutritional context that promotes low fat and adequate fiber intake.

 

Reference:

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, Angelo Tremblay. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. British Journal of Nutrition, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114513003875