Can Microbiome Supplements Help in Weight Loss?

Microbiome supplements are all the rage in pharmacies worldwide. Gut health is the new trend in well-being, and we are all trying to maximise our chances of feeling good inside and out. With so many microbiome supplements on the market, do they help you lose weight? In this article, we will closely examine the role of microbiome supplements in weight loss and the wider role of the microbiota in weight loss.
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

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Can Microbiome Supplements Help in Weight Loss?

Microbiome supplements can potentially aid in weight loss. They work by altering the composition of gut bacteria, which plays a crucial role in weight regulation. However, the effectiveness of these supplements can vary from person to person and should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Can Your Microbiome Help You Lose Weight?

The human gut is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome, which play a crucial role in our metabolism and overall health. Recent studies suggest that the composition of our gut microbiome could influence our body weight and response to weight loss interventions.

Research has shown that individuals with obesity often have a different gut microbiome composition compared to those of healthy weight.

For instance, obese individuals tend to have a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes bacteria [1]. However, this ratio can change with weight loss. A study found that after a weight loss intervention, there was a significant decrease in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes [2].

Certain bacteria, such as Prevotella 9, Lachnospiraceae UCG-001, and Bacteroides, have been associated with higher weight loss in individuals undergoing a 12-month lifestyle intervention [3]. Another study found that a low-calorie diet led to significant changes in the gut microbiome, including a persistent increase in gut microbiota phylogenetic diversity [4].

However, it's important to note that the relationship between the gut microbiome and obesity is complex and not solely dependent on the proportion of these bacterial phyla. Other factors, such as diet, age, sex, and baseline body mass index (BMI), can also influence weight loss responses [5].

Summary

The gut microbiome plays a role in weight, although changing your microbiome alone is unlikely to lead to weight loss. Additional factors also influence your weight loss success

Microbiome Supplements: Do They Help You Lose Weight?

Various factors, including your foods and supplements, can help you have a healthy gut microbiome. Here are some ways to promote a healthy, balanced gut microbiota, improve metabolic processes and make yourself feel more fit and energetic. You will likely stick to a weight loss program and caloric restriction if you feel better, which will help you achieve weight loss success.

  • High-fiber food intake is beneficial for gut health, among other health benefits. Dietary fibre nourishes the bacteria in your gut and promotes their growth. Furthermore, fibre helps keep blood sugar stable, which can help prevent and manage insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. Fibre-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like oats and quinoa [6, 7].
  • Fermented foods are excellent sources of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can improve the gut microbiome. Examples of fermented foods include kimchi, tempeh, yoghurt, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut [6, 7].
  • Garlic may increase gut microbiome diversity and improve gut health. A small study found that aged garlic extract increased diversity and levels of beneficial bacteria [7].
  • Collagen-rich foods such as bone broth and salmon skin may benefit overall health and gut health. A study indicated that supplements with collagen may benefit the gut microbiome in mice, though further research is needed [7].
  • Probiotic supplements may also be helpful for gut health. They can restore some of the good bacteria that antibiotics may destroy. However, more research is needed to determine the best dose and strain for specific conditions [6]. Many supplement companies claim live bacteria cultures in their products to supplement your microbiome. Beware of these trends, as your stomach acid will destroy much of the beneficial probiotic bacteria that the foods are fortified with.
  • Vitamins, when provided in large doses or when delivered to the large intestine, have been shown to beneficially modulate the gut microbiome by increasing the abundance of beneficial bacteria (vitamins A, B2, D, E, and beta-carotene), increasing or maintaining microbial diversity (vitamins A, B2, B3, C, K) and richness (vitamin D), increasing short-chain fatty acid production (vitamin C), or increasing the abundance of short-chain fatty acid producers (vitamins B2, E) [8].

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.