Daily Synbiotic Supplements May Nudge More Weight Loss in Obese Kids
A recent report in Beneficial Microbes showed that obese kids who were put on a calorie controlled diet and an exercise plan lost more weight when they took a symbiotic (probiotic) supplement, compared to a control group that just used diet and exercise for weight loss.
This is the first study of its kind to show that taking a food supplement can impact oxidative stress s and change gut microbe population in teens, helping to further nudge weight loss.
Currently there are no set guidelines for use of probiotics and supplements, specifically to help with gut health in obese individuals who struggle with weight loss. We do know that gut microbes can limit weight loss and affect metabolic factors. Numerous journal papers have indicated that lean and obese individuals have distinct differences in the gut microbiome and microbial populations. Research has been looking at prebiotics and probiotics as a means to shift metabolic pathways and improve nutrient absorption, or as a way to help increase energy expenditure by promoting secretion of hormones like GLP-1 (a hormone involved in satiation and metabolism).
In this study, 77 obese children took the supplement while a parallel group of 77 children did not. Both groups followed a calorie-specific diet and similar exercise plan. Both groups lost weight, but the group using supplements lost 7% more weight. The probiotics also helped lipid measures in the group, with at least half the kids experiencing a resolution of hyperlipidemia.
Overall, the children who took the supplements for a month had more profound changes in BMI, more significant weight loss, and an overall improvement in measurements of oxidative stress. The researchers would like to replicate the study, keeping the children on the probiotic for a significantly longer period of time (3 – 6 months) to see if the probiotics can lead to long term shifts in gut microbiota.
Quick tip: You can get similar benefits from certain foods. Fermented foods and yogurt with active cultures offer prebiotics and probiotics. Including these foods in a balanced diet may also help to keep your gut microbes in healthy balance. Always check with your doctor or health care professional before taking supplements which may interfere with medications or impact certain health issues.
Quick tip: With SuperBowl Sunday on tap for this coming Sunday, swap out some traditional recipes bulging with calories and fat for some healthier recipes!!
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