Canadian study finds probiotic helps women lose, keep weight off

Researchers announced today that certain probiotics could help women lose weight and keep it off.

Prior studies had already shown that the intestinal flora of obese people is different from that of skinny folks. That may be because a diet high in fat and low in fiber sets the stage for certain bacteria to thrive at the expense of others.

The new research is outlined in the British Journal of Nutrition by a team of researchers headed by Université Laval Professor Angelo Tremblay. They sought to find if eating probiotics could change the balance of the intestinal flora to help bacteria that promote a healthy weight.

probiotic-foodFor the test, the researchers put 125 overweight men and women through a 12-week weight-loss diet, followed by a 12-week period aimed at maintaining body weight. Throughout, half the participants took two pills each day of Lactobacillus rhamnosus priobiotcs, while the others got a placebo.

Researchers saw after the 1initial diet period an average weight loss of 4.4 kg in women in the probiotic group. In the placebi group it was just 2.6 kg. But  no differences in weight loss were observed among men.

“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 Tremblay.

At the end of the 12-week maintenance period, women in the placebo group saw their weight remain stable. The probiotic group kept losing weight, total of 5.2 kg per participant.

basically, women who ate probiotics lost about double the weight over the study’s 24-week period. Researchers also saw levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin fall in this group, plus a lower concentration of the intestinal bacteria tied to obesity.

Tremblay said probiotics might change the intestinal wall’s permeability and by keeping certain proinflammatory molecules out of the blood, may prevent the chain reaction that leads to glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

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