Probiotics are usually associated with a healthy gut, but research suggests they may also help you achieve a trimmer waistline. A double-blind study, published in EBioMedicine, found that the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis 420 (B420), alone and in combination with a prebiotic fiber, may help reduce body fat. For the study, researchers randomly assigned 225 adults, aged 18 to 65, who were not overweight or obese to receive one of four treatments daily for six months. The four treatments included a supplement providing 10 billion colony-forming units of B420 plus 12 grams of a prebiotic fiber called polydextrose; B420 alone in 12 grams of an inactive fiber called microcrystalline cellulose (the placebo); 12 grams of prebiotic fiber alone; or, 12 grams of the placebo. During the six months of treatment, researchers followed the participants for obesity-related health markers. Here is what they found:
Among participants who finished the study, those in the B420 and the B420 plus prebiotic fiber groups experienced a 4 to 4.5% reduction in body fat compared with the fiber alone and placebo groups. Most of the fat loss occurred in the abdomen and was reflected in reductions in waist circumference measurements.
The B420 plus dietary fiber group also experienced an increase in lean body mass compared with the other groups.
Calorie intake was reduced among those receiving B420 and B420 plus prebiotic fiber.
This could be exciting news for people looking for natural weight management options. While probiotics are available as supplements like the ones used in this study, some species of Bifidobacterum animalis and other beneficial bacteria can also be found in fermented dairy products, especially in yogurt. Since there are many strains of probiotics, look at labels to ensure you’re getting the one you’re looking for.