Gut Bacteria Imbalances Causing Weight Gain

Can using probiotics aid in weight loss? No doubt about it, people are starting to understand how important the health of your gut is and how optimum gut health can lead to many health improvements. So naturally the question arises “Can probiotics lead to weight loss because they are ‘good for your gut?'” Let’s take a moment to discuss what we know about probiotics and weight loss.

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Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio, and recently I posted a video discussing probiotics for weight loss and how probiotics might be able to manipulate the microbiota to garner weight loss. And unfortunately, the results of the studies are not hugely promising. One to 3 pounds is what is seen in the best trials of using probiotics or prebiotics to manipulate the gut in order to garner weight loss.

Now, there was one concept I discussed. And I wanted to do a follow-up note on this. This was the firmicutes to bacteroidetes ratio. The erroneous premise that is still circulating to some extent based upon animal data that I think really needs to be updated, and I hope that we will update, is that this claimed imbalance in the firmicutes to bacteroidetes ratio can cause obesity.

And essentially, firmicutes and bacteroidetes are two major phyla of bacteria in the gut. And the criticism, or the hypothesis, has been that Westernized diets lead to high levels of firmicutes relative to Bacteroidetes. And that causes obesity. This is shown in the animal data, not reinforced in the human data. So again, high firmicutes—bad, causes weight gain is the hypothesis.

Now, another reason that this hypothesis might be erroneous is because the bacteria, the probiotics used in the weight loss trials like the bifidobacterium species and the lactobacillus species that I mentioned in my last video are of the firmicutes phylum. So by giving more of the bacterial phylum that is supposed to cause weight gain, we’re actually producing a small amount of weight loss.

How do we account for this? I think via two reasons. One, the firmicutesbacteroidetes ratio is erroneous as I’ve discussed previously.

And two, because the primary benefit that we see here might be the anti-inflammatory benefit that we can receive from using a probiotic because, remember, probiotics don’t colonize. They’re transient passersby, only for a couple weeks.

But in that time, they can have an effect on metabolism and on inflammation and leaky gut. So the likely primary benefit coming from these firmicutes phylum probiotics is anti-inflammatory. And that’s probably why we’re seeing a small amount of weight loss.

So I hope this is helpful. And we’ll keep you posted on other updates on this issue as they become available. Thanks!


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What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area and distance patients via phone and Skype.

Discussion

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