Healthy Gut Bacteria Linked to Weight Loss

Filed Under: Gut Bacteria & Probiotics, Weight Loss

As an interesting note, researchers have discovered that the amount and type of bacteria in your gut also plays a role in weight gain or weight loss.

A Japanese company, Snow Brand Milk Products, gave 87 overweight individuals 100 grams of fermented milk twice a day. The milk consumed by half the group contained the bacteria Lactobacillus gasseri. After 12 weeks those individuals lost an average of 2.2 pounds—and there was no weight loss in the other group. (Eur J Clin Nutr 2010 March 10. E-pub ahead of print PMID:20216555)

What made this even more exciting (to me) was that the fat they lost was in the areas associated with metabolic syndrome. They lost 4.6 percent of their visceral fat (fat around the stomach) and 3.3 percent of their subcutaneous fat (fat just under the skin). Their hip circumference was reduced by 1.7 cm (almost ¾ of an inch) and their waist went down by 1.5 cm (just over ½ inch). For doing nothing else this is pretty remarkable, to say the least.

See a list of all articles about Gut Bacteria in the Gut Bacteria and Probiotics Index

Researchers feel that the probiotic used, Lactobacillus gasseri, somehow decreases the amount of fat absorbed from the intestines. I think there’s probably a lot more to the story.

The interactions between our body and the bacteria that inhabit our gut are far-reaching and extremely complex when it comes to our health. Research in this area has only scratched the surface. There is definitely a symbiotic relationship that we tend to take for granted. Just recently it was discovered these microbes supply the body with energy by using their enzymes—ones we don’t have—to break down various plant compounds. It also appears that we somehow acquire new genes from these microbes and incorporate them into our own cells lining the gut.

One recent study found that the Japanese have microbes in their gut with the genetic ability to break down complex molecules in seaweed. This ability apparently has evolved over a long period of time in response to repeated exposure to these different foods. Microbes in Americans don’t have this ability. When you take a more serious look at just how vital our intestinal flora is to our health, it becomes easier to understand why we are experiencing such dramatic increases in problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and allergies.

Amazing things occur when you balance the intestinal flora with probiotic supplements and fermented foods.

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DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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