Probiotic Reviews

Medically reviewed by Anthony Dugarte M.D.

Probiotics Benefits

We’ve all heard of probiotics. But, what are the benefits of probiotics to weight loss and overall health?

Probiotics and weight loss have started to be researched by scientists although the probiotics weight loss research is nowhere near conclusive. Yet.

But, weight loss by probiotics is not the only thing they’re good for. Many have been using healthy gut bacteria probiotics for a variety of health benefits, including digestive issues and skin conditions.

This informative guide will help you learn a lot more about probiotics and what they do, as well as their gut health benefits and the benefits of probiotics weight loss.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are a type of live bacteria or yeasts. We have both good and bad bacteria in our bodies and the healthy gut bacteria probiotics are the ones that we’re discussing today. [1]

Probiotics are naturally found in your body.

They can also be found in some foods and gut health supplements and you can replace or increase the amount of healthy gut bacteria probiotics by eating these gut health foods or supplements.

Final Thoughts: Probiotics are strains of live bacteria or yeast that seem to have gut health benefits. They can be found in some of your favorite foods, like yogurt.

Probiotics Prebiotics And Gut Health

There are two main types of gut health probiotics: the lactobacillus and the bifidobacterium. Both of these categories of bacteria include many types and have been classified so because they all look alike or are nourished by the same type of nutrients or minerals.

Lactobacillus is the most common of the gut health probiotics and can be found in gut health foods such as yogurt or fermented foods (think sauerkraut).

Bifidobacterium probiotic can also be found in dairy products and just like the lactobacillus encompasses a broad range of types of bacteria.

Probiotic bacteria can also be found in a strain of yeast called saccharomyces boulardii and it seems to help with mostly digestive problems such as diarrhea.

Prebiotics are a type of bacteria that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

These just give a boost to your gut bacteria and don’t actually introduce more good bacteria but rather only promote the health of the ones there.

Probiotics prebiotics and gut health all work in tandem.

Final Thoughts: The most common probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, both of which can be found in dairy products. Prebiotics work in tandem with probiotics to improve gut health.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Scientists are not entirely sure how probiotics work yet, and more gut health research needs to be done to determine that for sure.

For now, there seems to be only hints or suggestions that probiotics cause weight loss and can contribute to gut health benefits.

So, what are some of the ways probiotics benefit gut health?

A good gut health diet can help maintain the good bacteria in your gut, helping to replenish probiotics after and incident that reduces them such as disease or taking antibiotics.

Gut health statistics also seem to show that probiotics can stabilize the community or microorganisms in your gut and keep invading, undesirable bacteria out since they’re all competing for the same space.

Probiotics and gut bacteria also work to metabolize nutrients from some foods or medicines and produce vitamin K, which is essential in helping make blood-clotting proteins.

Final Thoughts: There’s no gut health research yet on how exactly probiotics work, but it seems that the bacteria work to keep everything in balance in your body. [2] [3]

Other Health Benefits of Probiotics

There is more and more research on how probiotics work and the way they affect our bodies. Some of that research has been helping to prove that probiotics can be effective treatments for some types of diseases or illnesses.

Two studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic suggest that probiotics or gut bacteria in general help with pointing out rheumatoid arthritis and then with the treatment of it. [4]

One study was able to isolate gene markers and then find that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had higher levels of a bacteria than healthy individuals. [5]

Gut bacteria might even help us with cancer treatments.

A certain strain of lactobacillus was shown to help slow down the progression of certain cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and other cancers. [6]

Gut health supplements have also shown to be helpful with digestive issues such as:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Infectious diarrhea caused by viruses
  • Bacteria or parasites
  • Anti-biotic related diarrhea

All of these issues seem to be helped or treated with probiotics.

Gut health and depression have also been linked because it seems there is a bidirectional communication between our gut and our brain. [7]

The use of probiotics for depression is still controversial. Gut health and depression seem to be linked because depression is a metabolic brain disorder.

It seems that more and more research is coming to light in support of probiotics being helpful to those with depression. [8]

Still, other diseases or issues have been rumored to be treated with probiotics.

A supportive gut health diet has been linked to improvements in skin conditions such as eczema, better oral health, preventing seasonal allergies and colds and improving urinary and vaginal health.

Always take into account your gut health symptoms and speak to a doctor to see if probiotics can help you.

Final Thoughts: Probiotics help with a host of problems including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, digestive issues and even oral health.

Not all of the issues that it has the potential to help with have been scientifically proven yet. [1]

Probiotics For Weight Loss

Probiotics for weight loss have been explored extensively in recent years.

Probiotics (weight loss) research connects nutrition and gut health.

According to a weight loss study, it does not seem that probiotics cause weight loss directly. But, more indirectly. [9]

By increasing a certain type of bacteria, you can help your body be more efficient in absorbing or not absorbing calories from food and therefore lead to a weight change over time. [3]

Probiotics help with weight loss by producing short chain fatty acids which in turn regulate things like satiety and food intake. [10] [11]

Probiotics and weight loss studies also show gut health statistics to suggest a direct link between changes in gut flora and metabolic disruptions that lead to obesity, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis and inflammation.

Final Thoughts: According to probiotics diet weight loss connection, explored in probiotics and weight loss studies, certain types of probiotics are more prevalent in those that are healthy and others in those that are obese. In this way, probiotics might help us with a treatment for obesity and other related illnesses.

Foods With Probiotics

There are foods containing probiotics.

Yogurt is number one on the list.

It’s a dairy food and fermented.

Some studies have even shown that probiotics have helped with lactose intolerance. Just make sure to find brands that clearly state they have ‘live and active’ cultures. [12]

Sauerkraut and the similar Korean dish kimchi are both high in probiotics due to the fermentation process of the vegetables. Just make sure to choose unpasteurized options since the process of pasteurization will kill off any bacteria, including probiotics.

Miso soup is a staple in Japan, and not only is it high in probiotics, but it also has a lot of antioxidants and B vitamins. The fermented soybean paste food is also low in calories so it has the added benefits of probiotics weight loss.

Soft cheeses are all fermented but not all of them have the right probiotics for our systems. In fact, only a few strains found in cheeses are actually robust enough to make it all the way through to our gut. Gouda is one of those cheeses, so opt for it when choosing cheese.

Also, choose sourdough bread if you’re looking for probiotics help with weight loss. Although bread is not usually recommended in large quantities in a diet, at least sourdough bread has the added benefit of probiotics which increase gut health nutrition.

Kefir is another fermented food, or rather drink, that includes the benefits of probiotics. Kefir is extra special because it also includes a few strains of yeast that doubly help with gut health.

Sour pickles, and really any fermented vegetable in general, can be a good source of probiotics if they were pickled without the use of vinegar. Look for ones that use a water and sea salt solution, to let the vegetables ferment naturally, or make your own.

Another fermented soybean food, tempeh, makes its own natural antibiotic that fights certain bad bacteria. It is usually used in place of meats in vegan or vegetarian diets and can be very effective in a gut health cleanse.

Final Thoughts: There are a handful of foods like yogurt, kefir, miso soup, pickles, tempeh, sourdough bread, soft cheeses sauerkraut or kimchi that contain probiotics. These have the highest concentration of probiotics and are effective for gut health and weight loss. [13]

Probiotic Supplements

There are many brands of probiotics out there, although be cautious because the FDA does regulate them, but as a food not medication so manufacturers don’t have to prove that they work.

Most supplements have the two most common strains, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, but can contain other strains as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that those supplements are better, although experts do say that you should switch up your supplements every few months so that your gut doesn’t get used to them.

To be on the safer side, choose probiotics from brands that have been around for a while since they have most likely tested their products over and over again. You can also check a third party certifier to see if they’ve tested their products for safety.

Some supplements might be advertised as probiotics weight loss pills but not every supplement works for everyone. Probiotics weight loss pills will also work better with diet and exercise changes.

Just know that the effects of probiotics will wear off within a few weeks if you stop taking your supplements.

Final Thoughts: Probiotic supplements are a great choice for you if you don’t like a lot of probiotic-rich foods. Take notice of your gut health symptoms and switch up supplements every few months to keep the good bacteria going in your gut. [14]

Probiotic Meal Plans

Including probiotics in your every meal is quite easy, since there are so many foods that are rich in probiotics.

Probiotic foods for breakfast:

  • Yogurt and granola is always a great option
  • Add a glass of kefir to your meal to get in your probiotics
  • Miso soup is a super easy meal to make and a Japanese staple for breakfast

Probiotic foods for lunch:

  • Add sour pickles or fermented vegetables to a sandwich
  • Soft cheese such as gouda make an excellent grilled cheese
  • Use sourdough bread to make croutons for soup or salads

Probiotic foods for dinner:

  • Tempeh makes a great vegan alternative to steak or chicken
  • Pork roast with sauerkraut is a great dinner option

If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, try adding kimchi to fried rice or ramen bowls

Final Thoughts: It’s very easy to add probiotic foods to your diet and trying out new foods can also be good for your gut to introduce new bacteria.

Probiotics Side Effects

For most people, the side effects of probiotics are very mild and usually go away after the first few days of you introducing new probiotics into your diet.

Mild symptoms can include bloating, constipation or gas. More severe symptoms of severe or dangerous infections can happen to those with weakened immune systems or those that have had surgery recently.

Also, keep in mind that probiotics haven’t been researched thoroughly yet so other side effects can be expected.

If you feel like you’re having some issues with probiotics, talk to your doctor and test out probiotics slowly.

Final Thoughts: Most people will not have any side effects from probiotics, and if you do will be mild ones like gas or bloating. They will usually go away within a few days or weeks.

Are Probiotics Safe?

Since probiotics are found naturally in our gut there’s not a lot of risk in taking supplements or increasing your intake of probiotic foods.

If you feel like you’re having adverse reactions, talk to your doctor or decrease your intake of probiotics.

Good Probiotics

Probiotics are not regulated by the FDA, so you have to be extra careful when buying supplements. One probiotic weight loss study found that only 4 in 13 brands were true to their label claims.

The two most common probiotic strains are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium so look for those when selecting a brand.

Probiotics Dosage

The dosage will vary by supplement type and person. Most dosages will be between 5-10 grams per day.

But, follow the instructions for the supplements or ones from your doctor.

Natural Probiotics

Research is not consistent with using probiotics as alternative medicine, even though there is more research being done every year on probiotic weight loss benefits. Some experience mild side effects.

If you have some gut health bloating, don’t be discouraged. Even gut health constipation is normal and supplements can help you with gut health obesity so if you’re ready to try something new, give probiotics a chance. [15]

Final Thoughts on Probiotics

Probiotics are becoming more well known in recent years as an alternative way to deal with some digestive issues and a few other illnesses or diseases.

Some of those include cancer, skin conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, colds and can even help with oral health and urinary/vaginal health.

The probiotics weight loss benefits can be many as well, especially since eating foods rich in probiotics are also foods that are usually low in calories and high in other nutrients as well.

Probiotics diet weight loss can be achieved with supplements as well.

Some foods you can add to you diet include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, tempeh and sour pickles.

Add these foods to your diet and you can say goodbye to gut health bloating, gut health constipation and even gut health obesity.

If you’re looking for a few ways to boost your health, probiotics are great to add to your diet.

Probiotics weight loss benefits are many and can be varied for each person, but since side effects are usually mild, it doesn’t hurt to try them out.

So don’t be afraid to take a chance and give probiotics a try. You might find that they bring you much good health and even a few dropped pounds.

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