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September 9, 2014
A Japanese study last year found that a probiotic called lactobacillus gasseri can help you lose weight, especially right around your abdomen.
Of all the different types of excess fat, belly fat is the unhealthiest because it is wrapped around your internal organs, impeding their function and creating inflammation, an immune system response that can have unhealthy side effects. Since one of inflammation’s most common side effects is weight gain, you can see how belly fat creates a vicious circle:
Belly fat → inflammation → more belly fat → more inflammation → more belly fat…You get the idea.
So anything that can help us get rid of belly fat is an especially powerful weight-loss aid. And lactobacillus gasseri seems to have that power.
Probiotics generally are a powerful weight-loss aid because they support the microbiome, the community of trillions of bacteria that live within each one of us. The microbiome contains both friendly and unfriendly bacteria. The balance between the two helps determine many aspects of your health—including your weight.
Probiotics are powders, pills, or capsules that contain billions of friendly bacteria. Taking probiotics helps ensure that your microbiome has enough friendly bacteria to keep you healthy.
When it comes to weight loss, lactobacillus gasseri is one of the friendliest of all bacteria, as the Japanese researchers discovered. They began with 210 overweight people whom they divided into three groups. Each group drank a daily glass of fermented milk.
One group got no lactobacillus gasseri. One group got a moderate amount, and the third group got a large amount.
Over the 12 weeks of the study, both of the groups taking lactobacillus gasseri lost 8 to 9 percent of their visceral fat—the unhealthy internal fat—and 1 to 3 percent of their belly fat.
Participants in the “gasseri groups” also lost inches from their waistlines and their hips, and they showed a lower proportion of fat overall. The control group, meanwhile, showed no changes.
The researchers concluded that probiotics could be a powerful weapon in the fight against abdominal fat. They also believed that it was important to keep taking probiotics to maintain the fat-fighting effect.
This 2013 study echoed the results of an earlier experiment by some of the same researchers, published in 2010 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The earlier study also found that consuming lactobacillus gasseri on a regular basis helped patients lose abdominal fat as well as aiding in weight loss generally.
A 2012 study in the journal Pathology likewise concluded that lactobacillus gasseri could help people lose weight.
What is the source of lactobillus gasseri’s power? Why does this probiotic function so well as a weight-loss aid?
Reviewing the research, I believe that this probiotic operates through multiple pathways. First, it supports the microbiome itself. A great deal of research shows that a healthy microbiome is the key to healthy weight loss.
Second, a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes found that lactobacillus gasseri reduced “non-esterified fatty acid levels” in Japanese patients who had high levels of fat in their blood. In other words, this probiotic seems to keep people from absorbing the fat in their diets.
A third weight-loss pathway is the way lactobacillus gasseri improves the whole intestinal environment. When your gut is working well, you are far less likely to gain weight, for a whole host of reasons. And probiotics of all types are terrific for your gut.
So here’s your takeaway: Find a probiotic capsule or powder that contains high levels of lactobacillus gasseri and enjoy its benefits for your microbiome, your gut—and your weight.
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