¿Pueden los suplementos probióticos apoyarnos en la pérdida de peso?

Can probiotic supplements help us lose weight?

Weight loss has never been an easy topic , and although diet and physical exercise are the basis for change, health professionals and researchers agree that sometimes it is much more complex than we think and requires taking into account. various factors that influence our health, such as inflammation, hormonal imbalance, genetics and stress.

But have you ever considered that the gut may play a role in the weight loss process? Current research shows us that a lack of bacterial diversity is strongly associated with weight gain and obesity, making it essential to support our intestinal health (restoring its function and diversity) with the support of probiotic supplements, which could promote weight loss. through various mechanisms.

How do intestinal bacteria influence body weight?

The intestine contains trillions of bacteria, beneficial and pathogenic, which work together and balance to support health and fight infections. All of these microorganisms have particular roles and collectively are key to the proper functioning of the organism. In a pioneering study from 2016, the influence of microbiota composition was shown through fecal transplants in mice. In this study, lean mice received a fecal microbial transplant from obese mice, which resulted in an increase in weight and adipose tissue. . In the case of obese mice, they received fecal transplants from lean mice and this led to increased fermentation of indigestible fibers, decreased weight and abdominal fat. This study clearly illustrates the ability of intestinal bacteria to control weight, which has even led to fecal microbiota transplantation being suggested as a potential treatment for obesity.

Living microorganisms potently influence energy metabolism by controlling the extraction of energy from the foods we consume, the fermentation of carbohydrates, and the regulation of gut hormones (e.g., glucagon-like peptide 1 and leptin) involved in energy metabolism, appetite and consequently our weight. The relationship between energy metabolism and energy harvesting is still under investigation, becoming more relevant every day. However, we know that there is an increase in energy extraction efficiency in obese individuals and less fermentation of carbohydrates (sugars). These harmful microorganisms further influence body weight by promoting glucose absorption in the intestine and increasing inflammation.

Low bacterial diversity is associated with greater intestinal permeability, which in turn increases blood levels of a bacteria-derived toxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which has been strongly linked to obesity and acts mainly by triggering inflammation of the entire the body and the oxidative stress process. All of this leads to inadequate management of glucose levels, development of insulin resistance and accumulation of body fat.

So can taking probiotic supplements help you lose weight?

There are several studies that evaluate and analyze the effect of probiotic supplements, mainly using combinations of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, which have shown a positive effect on weight loss by reducing inflammation, improving intestinal permeability and controlling blood levels. of blood sugar. Another clinical review has also demonstrated the beneficial effects of these supplements, especially Lactobacillus species in diabetes and the metabolic parameters related to this disease.

Balance: Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes Ratio

The composition of the microbiota also depends on the type and proportion of bacteria that are present in the intestine. In which, there are 5 different types of bacterial families, known as “phyla”. The two dominant bacterial phyla are Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, which are predominantly found in the large intestine. Having an adequate proportion of these bacterial strains can help with weight control by directly influencing the extraction of energy from food. Recent research suggests that higher levels of Firmicutes and lower levels of Bacteroidetes have been found in obese patients. Although not all research agrees on this, we know that the lack of bacterial diversity is highly related to obesity.

Since we now know that the bacterial diversity of the intestinal microbiota is an important factor to consider in weight loss, let's finally address some common factors that are also of great influence:

Diet: It has been shown that a diet low in fiber and/or high in artificial sugars and fats alters microbial diversity and induces low-grade inflammation, increasing intestinal permeability. Additionally, this style of feeding can increase the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio.

Stress: Stress has a direct impact on the intestinal microbiota, altering the microbial balance and promoting inflammation and permeability.

Antibiotics: A recent article published in the “World Journal of Pediatrics” illustrates a correlation between frequent antibiotic use in childhood and an increased risk of obesity. Antibiotic use has also been shown to lead to an imbalance in Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, further altering the microbiome.

Prebiotic Fiber and Weight Loss

Prebiotic fiber is found in plants, particularly plant foods such as onion, garlic, and leek. These are known as indigestible fibers. Our digestive enzymes are not able to break down these fibers, so they reach the colon intact, where they are fermented by intestinal bacteria. This fermentation process produces Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), acetate, propionate and butyrate, which positively impact the intestinal barrier and our metabolism. The more abundant the supply of prebiotic fiber through the diet, the more abundant and diverse the intestinal microbiota. It has been shown that a constant production of SCFAs is a protective factor against weight gain and obesity.

Clinical evidence indicates that a type of prebiotic fiber called Inulin can increase satiety by modulating hormones involved in regulating appetite. In fact, there is a large amount of research showing that a higher intake of dietary fiber, preferably of the indigestible type, can decrease feelings of hunger. This could lead to reduced calorie intake and less snacking, which may contribute to weight loss. Research on fiber intake often relies on large doses of a single type of prebiotic fiber, however, the important thing is to increase the total amount of fiber in the diet from various foods.


Growing evidence suggests that there are associations between our gut microbiome and other metabolic factors related to weight gain and obesity. Therefore, modulating our microbiota through diet, probiotic supplements, the provision of prebiotic fiber, and reducing our exposure to the various factors that can negatively affect it (for example, stress, antibiotics), can be an effective tool when It seeks to comprehensively support weight control.

If you are struggling with weight loss and would like to receive personalized advice on which supplement to choose, write to us at nutricion@biocarechile.cl


[i] Turnbaugh PJ et al. A core gut microbiome in obese and lean twins. Nature. 2009; 457(7228);480-484.

[ii] Ridaura V et al. Cultured gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate adiposity and metabolic phenotypes in mice. Science. 2013; 341(6150); 1-14.

[iii] Lee P et al. Gut microbiota and obesity: An opportunity to alter obesity through faecal microbiota transplant (FMT). AJ of Pharma and Therapeutics. 2018; 21(3); 479-490.

[v] Menni C et al. Gut microbiome diversity and high-fiber intake are related to lower long-term weight gain. Int journal of obesity. 2017; 41;1099-1105.

[vi] Cani P et al. Involvement of gut microbiota in the development of low-grade inflammation and type 2 diabetes associated with obesity. Gut microbes. 2012; 3(4); 279-288.

[vii] Brusaferro A et al. Is It Time to Use Probiotics to Prevent or Treat Obesity? Nutrients. 2018; 10(11): 1613.

[viii] Roberts, JD, et al. An Exploratory Investigation of Endotoxin Levels in Novice Long Distance Triathletes, and the Effects of a Multi-Strain Probiotic/Prebiotic, Antioxidant Intervention. Nutrients, 2016; 8 (11): 733

[ix] Brusaferro A et al. Is It Time to Use Probiotics to Prevent or Treat Obesity? Nutrients. 2018; 10(11): 1613.

[x] Razmpoosh E et al. Probiotics as beneficial agents in the management of diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2016; 32: 143–168.

[xi] Turnbaugh PJ et al. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature. 2006. 444;1027-1031.

[xii] Pray L et al. Influence of the Microbiome on the Metabolism of Diet and Dietary Components. National Institute of Health. 2013; 1-179.

[xiii] Murphy E et al. Influence of High-Fat-Diet on Gut Microbiota: A Driving Force for Chronic Disease Risk. Curr opinion Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015; 18(5); 515-520.

[xiv] Kobyliak N et al. Probiotics in prevention and treatment of obesity: a critical review. Nutr Metab. 2016; 13:2-14.

[xv] Murphy E et al. Influence of High-Fat-Diet on Gut Microbiota: A Driving Force for Chronic Disease Risk. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015; 18(5); 525-520.

[xvi] Karl J et al. Effects of Psychological, Environmental and Physical Stressors on the Gut Microbiota. 2018; 9;1-32.

[xvii] Liu, T. The microbiome as a novel paradigm in studying stress and mental health. The American psychologist. 2017; 72(7); 655-667.

[xviii] Kelly D et al. Antibiotic use in early childhood and risk of obesity: longitudinal analysis of a national cohort. World J Pediatr. 2019; 15(4); 390-397.

[xix] Rinniella E et al. What is the health gut Microbiota Composition? A changing ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet and Disease. Microorganisms. 2019; 7(1); 1-14.

[xx] Sonnenberg E & Sonnenberg J. Starving our Microbial Self: The Deleterious Consequences of a Diet Deficient in Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates. Cell Metabolism. 2014; 20(5);779-786.

[xxi] Roberfroid M et al. Prebiotic effects: metabolism and health benefits. Br J Nutr Suppl. 2010; 104(2);1-93.

[xxii]Byrne C et al. The role of short chain fatty acids in appetite regulation and energy homeostasis. 2005; 39(9); 1331-1338.

[xxiii] Guess et al.A randomized controlled trial: the effect of inulin on weight management and ectopic fat in subjects with prediabetes. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2015; 12:36

[xxiv] Salvin J & Green H. Dietary fiber and satiety. Br Nutr Foundation. 2007; 32(1);32-42.

[xxv] Babiker et al. Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial. Nutr J. 2012; 11:111

[xxvi] Hanley AJ, Festa A, D'Agostino Jr RB, Wagenknecht LE, Savage PJ, Tracy RP, et al. Metabolic and inflammation variable clusters and prediction of type 2 diabetes: factor analysis using directly measured insulin sensitivity. Diabetes. 2004;53:1773–81

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.