A recent study claims that
supplements containing probiotics or live bacteria may help to burn fat. The findings of this study, funded by a company
Micropharma, which makes probiotic supplements suggest that a new probiotic
supplement capable of preventing intestinal fat absorption might be an useful
Normally the food that we eat is digested and absorbed into our system, while what is not absorbed is eliminated. Study researcher Peter Jones of the University of Manitoba, Canada, and his colleagues believe that probiotics interfere with the absorption so that more calories were lost through excretion and less were absorbed.
Probiotics are active bacterial cultures that have the ability to modify the ecology of gut -colonizing bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are known to soothe the stomach, improve depression, and even fight sinus infections.
The study was carried out on a small number of people who were slightly overweight. All the food that the participants consumed during the course of the study was provided by the researchers.
Jones' team administered a daily serving of yogurt to 28 overweight volunteers. The yogurt administered to 50% of the participants was spiked with bacteria Lactobacillus fermentum and the remaining 50% with Lactobacillus amylovorus.
After a month and a half, it was observed that those who ate the L. fermentum probiotic supplements had reduced 3 percent of their body fat and those eating L. amylovorus had reduced 4 percent. Most of the fat loss occurred in the belly area and this could be connected with increased risk for heart disease.
The researchers suggest that the bacteria reduced body fat by preventing the absorption of food by the intestine.
Bile salts secreted by the liver are vital for the digestion of fats. The probiotic bacteria destroy the bile salts and interfere with the break down and absorption of fats. The side-effects too were minimal.
However, a diet including probacteria might not exclude the need for a healthy diet and exercise.
The results of this study have been published in the Journal of Functional Foods.