Taking probiotics can increase weight loss over 12 weeks, research finds.
Those in the study who took probiotics achieved significantly more weight loss than a control group.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have multiple health benefits.
The probiotics taken in the study, including Bifidobacterium longum, also helped to restore diversity in the gut bacteria.
Studies have found that probiotics can aid weight loss in adults and children.
Professor Rui-Min Chen, the study’s first author, said:
“Our findings suggest that probiotic supplementation may help with weight loss and improve metabolic health in obese children, and that this may be an effective strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity in the future.”
The study included 54 children aged 6-14 years-old.
All the children were put on a diet and exercise regime, but only half were given probiotic supplements.
The supplement included a cocktail of three probiotics: Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
The results showed that the supplements led to significantly increased weight loss.
Probiotics also improved markers of metabolic health, such as lipid levels, blood glucose and insulin levels.
Dr Harriët Schellekens, a neuroscientist who was not involved in the study, said:
“This study delivers important evidence that probiotic supplementation can indeed be useful in the fight against obesity.
It is very promising that only 12 weeks of supplementation of the probiotic cocktail was able to reduce Body Mass Index (BMI) and also led to the improvement of other metabolic markers of obesity, including a reduction in fasting glucose levels.
This reinforces the concept of the link between the gut microbiome and metabolic disease, which is a growing area of obesity research.”
There is still reason to be cautious, though, said Professor Chen:
“Other studies have also reported no benefits from probiotic treatment in obese children but these were much shorter in duration.”
The study was presented at the 58th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting in Vienna, Austria (Chen et al., 2019).