While shopping for your groceries, you have probably noticed probiotic yogurts. What do you know about probiotics? No, they are not yogurt flavorings, nor are they preservatives. Probiotics are live organisms that are found in food and supplement forms. They have immense benefits to the body, including improving gut and immune health.
Did you know that probiotics can also help you lose weight and get rid of that stubborn belly fat? To illustrate, certain bacteria turn indigestible carbohydrates into fatty acids that are then absorbed by us and used as energy. As a consequence, they impact the amount of calories your body absorbs (9).
In addition, some prebiotic fibers stimulate your body to release the satiety hormone, which makes you feel fuller faster (35).
Can Some Probiotics Cause Weight Gain? Here’s Why
Some probiotics can cause you to gain weight. When everything is done correctly and in moderation, good results can generally be achieved, but probiotics are not created the same and therefore, they benefit your body differently.
The advantage you reap from them is influenced by factors such as your diet and lifestyle. In addition, randomly consuming too many probiotics and hoping to shed some pounds will most likely not work. As a matter of fact, you need to know which kind of probiotic strain to take.
For example, one strain of Lactobacillus gasseri may help limit weight gain, while another strain may promote weight gain (23). You also need to know how often to take it and what kind of diet to pair it with. So as you can see, it can get pretty overwhelming.
That being said, here are answers to the question: “can taking probiotics cause weight gain?”
The Delivery System Of The Probiotics
Drinking probiotic yogurt or kombucha is one way of getting your dose of probiotics. You may also get them from foods such as buttermilk, fermented pickles, tempeh, and miso soup.
However, you may sometimes need to take them in supplement form. These are generally in the form of capsules. The form of delivery is just as important as the probiotic it contains as these bacteria need a secure carrier to help them reach the gut intact.
Therefore, the capsules must be able to withstand saliva in the mouth and not dissolve. If this capsule starts to disintegrate in your mouth, it is unlikely that it will survive the stomach acids (16). Sadly, the probiotics may then not reach their intended destination, stimulate digestion, or increase your metabolism.
Are you wondering why you are gaining weight despite faithfully taking your probiotic supplements? You should check the form of delivery. You may be squashing the bacteria in your mouth before they even get a chance to go down to your gut.
It’s even worse if you continue taking in more calories in the belief that your probiotics will work their magic, but they haven’t had a chance to.
Commercial Probiotics Drinks And Foods May Be Loaded With Sugar
You may want to reconsider that kombucha drink from the store as this may be the reason why your weight loss journey is taking longer than expected. Here’s why.
Unfortunately, commercial probiotic beverages and food may be loaded with unhealthy sugars. And as you know, taking too much sugar is a no-no on your weight loss journey (30).
For example, in addition to its flavorings and fruit additives, yogurt may contain added sugars. And the kombucha fermentation process requires sugar to feed the probiotic bacteria.
While this may help improve the taste of these drinks, it does little to help your weight loss journey. When shopping for a probiotic drink or food, you should consider those with a low sugar content. Alternatively, avoid commercial probiotic drinks and foods completely.
You Are Taking Probiotic Strains That Promote Obesity
Yes, that’s right. You may be actively consuming a probiotic strain that promotes weight gain while expecting it to help you lose weight. Some strains of probiotics encourage obesity. One such strain is Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which may alter the bacteria in the gut to promote cellular growth (5).
Have you ever wondered how livestock and poultry are fattened up in the shortest time possible? These animals are given a form of this bacteria to help fatten them up. When you buy probiotic drinks and foods, particularly commercial ones, make sure to read the labels and ingredients carefully.
Some of the best probiotics for weight loss may contain Lactobacillus gasseri (5). Lactobacillus gasserithems are thermogenic, which means they can generate heat in the body to metabolize fat. So, if you need to get rid of fats under your arms, this may be the probiotic to choose (10).
However, more scientific research is required to fully understand all the different probiotic strains and exactly how they affect human health.
When in doubt about what strains to take, you should consider simply adding some fermented foods to your diet that have been consumed by humans for thousands of years and don’t get too bogged down by the details.
Potency Of The Probiotic
There are a lot of different types of probiotics. It’s important to understand that probiotic drinks and supplements contain variations of probiotics.
Some are more potent than others and can survive the harsh conditions in your mouth and gut (21). Generally, these probiotics have a higher chance of making a difference in your gut.
At the same time, probiotics with weak potency generally don’t make it far.
The bacteria also needs to be potent enough. If the strain isn’t strong enough, it may not even survive storage. In his case, there is a high chance that you are ingesting dead probiotic strains.
Storage also influences the state of these bacteria. Probiotic drinks such as yogurts require refrigeration as some stains need cold temperatures to survive. However, this is generally short-lived. Transporting these products removes them from their ideal environment, further reducing the probiotic strain’s chances of survival.
Furthermore, displaying such drinks on shelves does more harm than good.
You may find a product labeled ‘contains healthy probiotics’ when it really contains dead strains of this bacteria. You will then end up consuming sugary drinks with no beneficial ingredients. This could result in weight gain.
Failure To Complement With A Healthy Diet
You cannot eat all the fatty foods, processed sugars, and fizzy drinks, and expect to melt all of it away with a simple pop of a probiotic supplement. Weight loss goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.
A diet that is rich in fats and added sugars will keep your weight up, regardless of how many probiotic supplements you take. A healthy diet supplemented with probiotics can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, in order to increase the effectiveness of probiotics, you should consider those with added natural ingredients. A great example of a natural addition is turmeric. When it is used correctly, turmeric can help enhance your metabolism and help you lose weight (33). If your belly fat is too stubborn, you should consider taking turmeric-based probiotics.
Other Possible Side Effects Of Probiotics
Too much of anything can be dangerous, and this includes probiotics. Although they promise weight loss and other health benefits, probiotics need to be taken in moderation. You will not lose weight faster by drinking several bottles of yogurt at once – this will only give you a bloated stomach.
Do you know what will happen to your body and your digestive system if you take too many probiotics?
Below is a list of the potential side effects of taking too many probiotics:
Your tummy will not appreciate too many probiotics. Sooner or later, you could start to experience issues such as bloating (21). There is nothing as uncomfortable as having excess gas in your digestive tract. In addition to excess gas in your abdomen, your stomach will feel swollen and tight.
You will also find yourself passing gas more regularly. It is normal to pass gas and as bacteria digest food in your mouth, gas is released. As a matter of fact, the average person passes gas 13 to 21 times per day (12). However, taking an excess of probiotic supplements increases gas production, which consequently causes bloating and gas.
In addition to bloating, taking too many yeast-based probiotics increases the risk of constipation and extreme thirst (22).
Some probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii provide relief for diarrhea (36). However, when taken in large quantities, these probiotic strains can irritate your gut and result in diarrhea.
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Probiotic foods such as Kimchi and drinks such as yogurts contain biogenic amines (34). The most common amines found in foods with probiotics are histamines, tryptamine, and tyramine (4).
Amines excite the central nervous system by regulating the increase and decrease of blood flow to this area. People who are sensitive to amine and take a lot of probiotics are likely to experience symptoms such as headaches and migraines (6, 7).
Taking probiotic foods and probiotic supplements may sometimes cause different reactions. If you notice a slight headache after consuming probiotic foods, you may want to consider switching to supplements instead.
Increased Histamine Levels
Consuming too many probiotics can increase histamine levels in your body. This is because some of the bacterial strains that are used in probiotic supplements can stimulate histamine production inside your digestive tract (15, 16).
When your body detects a threat, such as a cut or a bacteria, it produces histamine. This is the hormone that helps your body protect itself against danger.
When your histamine levels rise, your blood vessels will dilate, which increases blood flow to the affected area. Your blood vessels then become permeable, which allows your immune cells to get to the affected area and get rid of pathogens.
This is also accompanied by symptoms such as swelling and redness. You may start to experience allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes and a running nose.
Histamine is generally broken down by an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which also prevents histamine levels from rising to a point where they can cause symptoms (8).
However, there are some individuals, and you could be one of them, who are histamine intolerant and have trouble breaking it down. This is generally due to not producing enough DAO (14). The excess histamine is absorbed in the digestive tract by such individuals and consequently causes symptoms such as those similar to an allergic reaction.
If you are histamine intolerant, you may want to avoid histamine-producing probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus buchneri and Streptococcus thermophilus (26).
Risk Of Adverse Reactions
If you’re allergic and intolerant to many foods, then it’s wise to read the labels of any probiotic supplements carefully before you buy them.
Similarly, if you’re allergic to yeast, consider taking bacteria-based probiotics instead of yeast-based ones (19).
Lactose is one of the ingredients in these supplements (32), so if you’re lactose intolerant, you may become bloated or flatulent if you take lactose-containing probiotics. Therefore, it’s best to choose lactose-free options instead.
Furthermore, some probiotic supplements contain prebiotics. These are simple plant fibers that the bacteria use as food, but you cannot digest them. The most common prebiotic is lactulose (18). When a supplement contains both a prebiotic and a probiotic, it is referred to as a synbiotic (17).
Some individuals may experience flatulence and bloating when they consume synbiotics.
Increases Risk Of Infection
Granted, probiotics are relatively safe and beneficial to most individuals. However, there is a small percentage of people whose consumption of probiotics will do more harm than good. For some people, albeit in rare cases, the bacteria and yeast that are found in probiotics make them susceptible to infections (27).
For example, people with suppressed immunity or those who have undergone prolonged
hospitalization periods may be unable to consume probiotics safely. This group also includes those using a venous catheter and those fresh from surgery (25). If you have acute pancreatitis, you should avoid taking probiotics as they may increase the risk of death (20).
If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you don’t need to worry as the risk of developing an infection is incredibly low. To put your mind at ease, consider the following statistics:
Approximately one person in eight million who takes probiotics daily will develop an infection. It gets better. The risk is almost negligible for probiotics that contain yeast. Here, only one person in 5.6 million will get an infection (28).
Probiotics are known to boost and maintain the health of your skin. It may come as a shock that ingesting too many probiotics may be counteractive. How can probiotics cause skin problems? Simple.
Consuming too many probiotics can cause skin rashes and itchiness in some people (31). Although you may not attribute the acne breakout to what you eat, consuming excess probiotics may lead to breakouts.
Another way to explain a skin reaction after consuming probiotics is that these bacteria trigger an allergy and show its symptoms on your skin.
Luckily, skin reactions that are caused by probiotics are rare and generally pass after some time. As previously mentioned, eating supplements that contain dairy, soy, or egg additives is likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
Probiotics have been linked to small intestine bacterial overgrowth. This is the excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestines.
An abnormally high quantity of bacteria in the small intestines, caused by consuming too many probiotics or some other reason, will increase food fermentation. As the food ferments, it produces gases such as methane and hydrogen (3).
The continuous release of these gases over a short period may lead to bloating, abdominal pain, and nausea. In the long term, bacterial overgrowth in the intestines can lead to interstitial mucosal inflammation. This is dangerous as it can damage the villi and intestinal tract and thin the mucus membrane (29).
On rare occasions, probiotics can cause your body to be resistant to antibiotics. This happens when the probiotic strain in your supplement contains an antibiotic-resistant gene. Unfortunately, such strains can pass these genes to other bacteria.
The good news is that most probiotic manufacturers test for antibiotic resistance. However, it’s still best to buy your supplements from reputable companies to reduce your chances of ingesting this gene.
Do probiotics help with belly fat?
Probiotics can be beneficial for reducing belly fat, but not directly. These live microorganisms help balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut, which might have some impact on weight management (24).
Research has suggested that an imbalance in gut bacteria may be associated with overweight and obesity.
Some studies have suggested that certain strains of probiotics may be more effective than others for targeting belly fat. These include Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium lactis. However, more research is required to determine the specific strains and dosages that are most effective for weight loss or belly fat reduction.
That being said, probiotics are not a magic solution for belly fat loss. They should be used in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise to see optimal results.
What happens when you take probiotics every day?
When you take probiotics every day, you are consistently introducing good bacteria into your gut. This may have many positive effects on your overall health.
Some potential benefits of taking probiotics every day include:
- Improved digestion: Beneficial bacteria can help break down food and improve nutrient absorption, which leads to better digestion.
- Supported immune system: The majority of our immune system is located in the gut, so a healthy balance of gut bacteria is helpful for a strong immune system.
- Reduced inflammation: Probiotics may help reduce inflammation in the body, which can have a positive impact on a variety of health conditions.
- Improved mental health: Emerging research has suggested there may be a link between gut health and mental health. Taking probiotics every day might help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Some experts recommend taking an occasional break from probiotics in order to allow the gut to naturally balance its bacteria without outside influence, but for most people, taking probiotics every day is safe and might be beneficial. Talk to your healthcare provider for individualized advice.
What supplements cause weight gain?
The majority of supplements do not directly cause weight gain. However, certain supplements may indirectly contribute to weight gain due to their ingredients or the effects they have on the body.
Some common supplements that have been linked to potential weight gain include:
- Protein powders: These are often marketed as a way of building muscle mass and can contain high amounts of calories and added sugar.
- Creatine: This supplement is often used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle mass.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: While these healthy fats have many benefits, they still contribute calories. Consuming an excessive amount might contribute to weight gain if it is not offset by other dietary changes. However, most typical doses won’t be a problem.
Can gut bacteria cause weight gain?
An imbalance of gut bacteria might potentially lead to weight gain. Gut bacteria play an important role in a variety of bodily functions, including digestion and metabolism.
Changes in the composition of bacteria in the gut may affect the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly.
In addition, changes in the makeup of gut bacteria have been linked to various mechanisms contributing to overweight and obesity.
Maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria through diet, exercise, and potentially probiotic supplementation might help prevent weight gain and promote overall health (2).
Probiotics are generally considered to be safe to use by people of all ages. However, as is with all other supplements, moderation is vital. Taking the wrong probiotics can derail your weight loss journey. Taking them in excess can also be dangerous.
To avoid such scenarios, you should always consult your doctor before you take any probiotic supplements. It’s important to remember that losing weight is a collective affair and a gradual procedure.
Taking probiotic supplements in combination with a healthy diet can help you lose weight. Remember that probiotics are not an alternative to vitamins and minerals, so don’t forget to take them as well.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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