Surprisingly, taking a simple probiotic capsule daily can make a statistically significant difference in reducing your waist circumference. A recent meta-study of 15 studies performed between 2000 and 2014 clearly indicated that probiotics had several beneficial effects.
“It will soon be important for practicing clinicians to have an understanding of the basic concepts of the human microbiome and its relation to human health and disease.”
– Mayo Clinic
What Are Probiotics?
Your gastrointestinal tract is home to 100 trillion bacteria. “Good bacteria” live in cooperation with us, accepting food we provide and creating useful substances for us in return. However, poor diet, antibiotic use and other factors can throw our gut biome out of balance and allow “bad bacteria” to predominate. When this happens, the resulting condition is known as gastrointestinal dysbiosis.
When your microbiome is unbalanced in this way, specific digestive problems such as IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome) can result. There can also be more wide-ranging impacts on health that contribute to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Probiotics are often called “good bacteria” or “friendly bacteria”. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” They live in your gut and help digestive processes.
You can consume probiotics in yogurt, cottage cheese, sourdough bread, fermented foods such as miso, kombucha, or kefir, and some aged, fermented cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, or Gouda.
Probiotics are also available in capsule form as a supplement.
Probiotics Reduce BMI and Waist Circumference
One of the important outcomes of the study was that taking probiotics helped reduce body mass index (BMI) and also reduced waist measurements. This compared in randomized, controlled trials to those who did not take a probiotic.
The probiotic content of yogurt may be one of the reasons it has proven to be such a good weight loss food. Read my article on 5 Ways Yogurt Helps Weight Loss for more information.
Inflammation Reduced By Daily Probiotics
Inflammation, which can result in many uncomfortable symptoms such as joint swelling and pain, was also shown to be significantly reduced during these trials. Since chronic (long-term) inflammation can lead to arthritis and even some cancers, reducing inflammation is a very desirable outcome of making this small dietary change.
Cholesterol Drops Too!
Cholesterol levels were also improved. When the probiotics consisted of multiple strains, there was an even greater improvement. The probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus was particularly helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol.
Probiotics Reduce Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths by disease in the USA. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. This study shows that a daily probiotic can reduce various risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Future of Probiotic Treatment
As research on animals and humans continues, certain new strains of probiotics are being isolated and patented to be used as treatments for high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS, diabetes, allergies, high cholesterol and obesity. They may even be used in future to treat mental illness. These targeted probiotics show great promise for health improvement.