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The Worst and Best Probiotics for Weight Loss

 The Best and Worst Probiotics for Weight Loss

The ecosystem of bacteria in your gut contributes to just about every aspect of your health, from digestion to immunities. Gut microbiota may also affect weight and obesity. While some bacterial strains may help to shed some pounds, others may actually promote weight gain. Learn more about some of the best and worst probiotics for weight loss below.

The Worst Probiotics for Weight Loss

L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, and L. ingluviei

In a comparative meta-analysis, researchers evaluated strains of bacteria and their potential effect on weight with the understanding that obesity is frequently associated with alterations in gut bacteria. In the meta-study, the researchers identified 17 randomized controlled trials on humans, 51 studies on farm animals, and 14 animal models.

These studies primarily focused on strains of Lactobacilli. Results found that administering Lactobacillus acidophilus, one of the most common and widely studied probiotic strains, contributed to significant weight gain in both human and animal models. Similarly, L. fermentum and L. ingluviei were linked to cases of weight gain in animals.1 These results suggest that L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, and L. ingluviei have the potential to cause weight gain.

The Best Probiotics for Weight Loss

Lactobacillus plantarum

Even within the same species, potential effects on weight can be completely different. In the same meta-analysis, researchers found that Lactobacillus plantarum was actually associated with weight loss in animals. L. gasseri was found to promote weight loss in obese humans and animals.1 More research is required to understand the potential role of Lactobacilli species in weight regulation and metabolism, as well as the actual mechanisms at work.


In a study looking at obesity and metabolic disorders in relation to changes in gut microbiota, researchers found that decreased Bifidobacteria in the gut was associated with obesity.2 In a separate meta-analysis, researchers compared a total of 159 obese subjects and 189 controls from six published studies. When looking at the gut microbiota of these patients, researchers found a consistent difference. Mainly, the group of obese patients showed a significant depletion of Bifidobacteria in their digestive microbiota.3

Another study analyzed the best probiotic makeup in pregnant women with high BMI and women with normal BMI.4 The study found that obese pregnant women had:

  • Lower numbers Bifidobacerium and Bacteroides
  • Higher number of Staphylococcus, Enterobacterieaceae, and E coli

This data supports the notion that higher Bifidobacterium numbers are associated with lower weight.

Can Probiotics Help With Weight Loss?

We have looked at several studies indicating that certain probiotics are better for weight loss than others. However, can taking a probiotic supplement help with weight loss? Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials involving the effects of probiotic supplementation on weight, body mass, fat mass, and fat percentage in subjects who were obese or overweight. The meta-analysis included 15 different studies comprising 957 subjects. Results of this meta-study found that using probiotics led to a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index, and fat percentage compared to placebos.5 Other studies also suggest the positive effects of certain probiotic strains in weight regulation. 6

However, research still needs to understand the influence of serving size, duration of administration, and long-term effects of probiotics on obesity.

How do Probiotics Help With Weight Loss?

Studies show that obesity is closely related to low-grade inflammation in adipose tissue, a result of numerous factors including excess fatty acids and not enough oxygen in tissues.7 Probiotics are believed to indirectly influence immune responses by neutralizing pro-inflammatory markers and enhancing the production of short-chain fatty acids that possess anti-inflammatory properties.8

DrFormulas® Nexabiotic® Advanced contains 23 probiotic strains including many that are helpful for weight loss such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis (formerly B. infantis). Because it has many probiotics in it that may promote weight loss, Nexabiotic® should be helpful with weight loss especially when combined with a low-carbohydrate diet and regular exercise.


DrFormulas Prebiotics


How Do People Use Thermogenic Probiotics for Weight Loss?

The thermogenic effect refers to the increase in basal metabolic rate following the consumption of food, which comes as a result of the energy required to process, use, and store that food. The term “thermogenic,” which means generating heat, in this case refers to the increased internal body temperature that often results from the increased metabolic rate and calorie burn. Diets that are high in protein have been shown to be more thermogenic, though certain healthy fats and spicy foods may also induce thermogenesis.9 Some specific foods and beverages believed to increase metabolism through the thermogenic effect include:

  • Eggs
  • Coffee, green tea, and other caffeinated beverages
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chili peppers
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt
  • Olive oil10

Probiotics and Thermogenics

While some people have been touting thermogenic probiotics for weight loss, the facts and evidence show that this is just not how probiotics work for weight loss. Studies show that probiotics may factor into the weight loss equation by breaking down foods that we cannot digest and extracting energy from those foods. The participants of a study were asked to change to a low-calorie, high-fiber diet and partake in an exercise program mainly consisting of walking. Stool samples, which offer a good representation of bacteria within the gut, were taken before the intervention and after the study period. Results revealed that those who did not lose weight had different types of bacteria and appeared to be more efficient at extracting energy from the low-calorie, high-fiber diet.11

In one study, the gut bacteria in lean mice were transferred to obese mice, allowing for weight loss, but these results were under very specific conditions. Similar studies of gut bacteria transfers in humans showed to have no effect on weight loss.11

Ultimately, there is not enough current evidence to suggest that thermogenic probiotics for weight loss work. If you want to induce the thermogenic effect, you are better off incorporating high-protein foods, spices, and caffeine.

However, probiotics may help to promote healthy weight in other unique ways, in particular by influencing dietary choices related to mood. Stress and anxiety are widely known to cause sudden cravings for high-calorie foods, which ultimately results in weight gain. However, studies show a unique and direct link between the gut and the brain, which suggests that probiotics may affect mood and vice versa. Mouse studies have found that beneficial bacteria can help anxiety-prone mice to calm down. Studies also show that gut bacteria both produces and responds to many of the same neurotransmitters that affect cognition and mood in the brain, suggesting a direct line of connection between the gut and the brain.12

Probiotics offer the potential combination of reducing anxiety and calming gut inflammation, which may help to keep those cravings for high-calorie junk foods under control.

DrFormulas® Nexabiotic® Advanced contains 23 probiotic strains including many that are helpful for weight loss such as Lactobacillus plantarumBifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis (formerly B. infantis). Because it has many probiotics in it that may promote weight loss, Nexabiotic® should be helpful with weight loss especially when combined with a low-carbohydrate diet and regular exercise.