More then a 100 years ago in 1907, Nobel prize winner Élie Metchnikoff suggested that
The dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes.
However even after a century most of us are not aware about the positive benefits of probiotics.The most people in India know about probiotics is that it is found in Yakult.
So What is Probiotic
World Health Organization define probiotics as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health beneﬁt on the host”. The key, widely known benefits of probiotics are:
- Probiotics strengthens the immune system
- Probiotics improves skin function
- Probiotics strengthens resistance to pollen allergens
- Probiotics protects DNA
- Probiotics protects proteins and lipids from oxidative damage
- Probiotics decrease the potentially pathogenic gastrointestinal microorganisms
- Probiotics reduces the gastrointestinal discomfort
- Probiotics help us maintain healthy intestinal Gut Flora in subjects receiving antibiotic treatment.
- Probiotics reduces flatulence and bloating
- Probiotics improves the bowel regularity
I am sure you must be feeling if probiotics are so useful, why are we not consuming them. Probiotics are available today in both supplements and fermented foods, however they are not very popular among masses in India.
The key focus of this article is on the key benefits it imparts as per point number 6 to 10 above.
Does Probiotics help you lose weight and belly fat?
Probiotics can help you lose weight and belly fat as this beneficial bacteria plays a role in body weight regulation as well. Your Gut has hundreds of different types of microorganisms in your digestive system. However it has been found that gut bacteria in obese people is quite different to that of lean people.
As per a research published by the National Academy of Sciences “Although the root cause of obesity is excess caloric intake compared with expenditure, differences in gut microbial ecology between humans may be an important factor affecting energy homeostasis; i.e., individuals predisposed to obesity may have gut microbial communities that promote more efficient extraction and/or storage of energy from a given diet, compared with these communities in lean individuals.”
How Probiotics help you lose weight and belly fat?
It is estimated that between 10 trillion to 100 trillion microorganisms populate an adults intestine. In a healthy adult majority of these are microorganisms are friendly and help the human body:
- Produce several important nutrients such as vitamin K and certain B-vitamins.
- Extract calories from otherwise indigestible common polysaccharides in our diet.
- Break down fiber that the body can’t digest, turning it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.
Reserachers have found that in human body there are primarily two main families of good bacteria in the gut: bacteroidetes and firmicutes. Body weight seems be related to the balance of these two families of bacteria. During their study they have found that people with obesity had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to normal-weight people. In some animal studies on mouse when gut bacteria from an obese mice are transplanted into guts of lean mice, the lean mice get fat. Needless to say that gut bacteria may play a powerful role in weight regulation.
As mentioned above our Gut flora plays a critical role in absorption of nutrients from our food. Research suggests that there’s a positive-feedback loop between the foods you crave and the composition of the gut flora, whose survival depends on nutrients from the food you are craving for. To put it simply if you are craving for healthy food, your gut flora is in good condition and if you are craving for processed, junk food, you gut flora has gone for a toss.
Researchers believe that Probiotics help us fight obesity in the following ways:
- Certain probiotics may inhibit the absorption of dietary fat, increasing the amount of fat excreted with feces resulting in to fewer calories abrorption from the food.
- By releasing appetite-reducing (satiety) hormone GLP-1 help body feel adequately fed and helps you burn calories and fat.
- By increasing levels of protein ANGPTL4, leading to decreased fat storage.
- By improving gut health, probiotics help reduce systemic inflammation.
However please note that a lot of research is and role of probiotics is still not completely known. However what is pretty clear is that in a healthy individual Gut Flora is in a balanced state. However if you start to stuff yourself with processed & pasteurized foods and Sugar, you will promote the growth of disease-causing yeasts and fungi in your gut. Therefore you need to primarily consumer a gut-healthy diet, which is rich in whole, natural, unprocessed and unsweetened foods.
- Élie [Ilya Ilyich] Metchnikoff, 2004 , The prolongation of life: Optimistic studies, p. 116. Springer Classics in Longevity and Aging, New York, NY:Springer, ISBN 0826118771, reprint of 1908 English edition by É.M., same title (P. Chalmers Mitchell, Ed.), New York, NY:Putnam, ISBN 0826118763, itself a translation of 1907 French edition by I.I.M., Essais optimistes, Paris:Heinemann, Retrieved 12 November 2015.