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Can probiotics help with weight loss?

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at effecta of a probiotic (lactobacillus gasseri) added to fermented milk and if probiotics help with weight loss and reducing abdominal fat in Japanese men.

The study was published by researchers at a Japanese dairy company and looked at the effect of probiotic supplements (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055)) on weight loss in obese Japanese men.

The 3 month study of 87 men that had a BMI between 24.2 and 30.7 kg/m2 looked at weight loss and abdominal fat loss when given fermented milk either with or without the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055. At the end of the 12 week study, there was a substantial weight loss in the group consuming the fermented milk with the probiotic (1.4% decrease or -1.1 kg) and decrease in BMI (1.5% decrease or -0.4 kg/m2) as well as a 4.6% decrease in the amount of abdominal fat tissue measured by CAT scans before and after the study.

A couple of thoughts on this study; First, its interesting to see that adding a probiotic may have some short term benefit on weight loss as well as decreasing abdominal fat, which can be a risk factor for heart disease. However, the group selected for the study mostly fall within the “Overweight” category on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale (25 to 29.9 kg/m2). I’d be curious to see this same study done with test subjects that were in the Obese Class I & II(BMI of 30.0 to 34.9 kg/m2 and BMI of 35-39.9 kg/m2) and “Morbidly Obese” (BMI of greater that 40%) to see if the weight loss was similar or greater.

Additionally, I’d also like to see a longer study (6 to 12 months) to demonstrate the long term effectiveness of the probiotics in maintaining the weight loss, and additional results to determine if this weight loss effect would be enhanced by exercise and/or nutrition changes.

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