Probiotic Use Linked to Weight Reduction in Obese and Overweight Patients

Reductions in body weight, BMI, fat percentage, but not in fat mass with short-term probiotics
Reductions in body weight, BMI, fat percentage, but not in fat mass with short-term probiotics

HealthDay News — Short-term probiotics are associated with reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and fat percentage in overweight or obese subjects, according to research published online October 18 in Obesity Reviews.

Heidi Borgeraas, PhD, from the Vestfold Hospital Trust in Tønsberg, Norway, and colleagues examined the effects of probiotic supplementation on body weight, BMI, fat mass, and fat percentage in overweight or obese subjects. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to calculate the weighted mean difference between the intervention and control groups. Data were included for 15 studies with 957 subjects, with interventions ranging in duration from three to 12 weeks. 

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The researchers found that, compared with placebo, probiotic administration resulted in a significantly larger reduction in body weight (weighted mean difference, −0.60 kg [95% confidence interval, −1.19 to −0.01 kg]), BMI (−0.27 kg/m² [95% confidence interval, −0.45 to −0.08 kg/m²]), and fat percentage (−0.60% [95% confidence interval, −1.20 to −0.01%]). The size of the effects was small. A non-significant effect of probiotics on fat mass was seen (−0.42 kg [95% confidence interval, −1.08 to 0.23]).

"Our meta-analysis showed that short-term (≤12 weeks) probiotic supplementation reduced body weight, BMI, and fat percentage, but the effect sizes were small," the authors write. "Further long-term studies are required to examine the effects of probiotic supplementation on various measures on body weight."

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