Consuming probiotics, so-called 'good bacteria', can reduce body weight and body mass index (BMI) according to a new meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
The digestive health benefits of probiotics have been widely debated. Probiotic supplements, often added to yoghurts, may support general wellbeing in addition to improving immunity. However, evidence for the beneficial effects of probiotics has been lacking.
Researchers from the Department of Cardiology, Taizhou People's Hospital, Taizhou, China combined the findings of 25 randomized human trials investigating the impact of probiotic consumption on body weight and BMI in over 1,900 healthy adults. They found taking probiotics reduced BMI and body weight with the greatest reduction in BMI occurring in overweight adults. Interestingly, ingesting more than one type of probiotic and taking probiotics for 8 weeks or more resulted in increased weight loss.
"To date, quite a few researchers have investigated the effects of probiotics on body weight and BMI, without a consistent result," lead author Qingqing Zhang notes. What is significant about this study is, that based on findings from the 25 included trials, the researchers found that consumption of probiotics did lead to a modest decrease in body weight and BMI.
Although the amount of weight loss documented in this study was minimal, even a small reduction can have enormous public health benefits by reducing weight-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.