Probiotics, which are becoming increasingly trendy, can actually help obese adults to beat the bulge, according to a recent study.
Heidi Borgeraas from the Vestfold Hospital Trust in Tønsberg, Norway and colleagues examined the effects of probiotic supplementation on body weight, BMI, fat mass, and fat percentage in overweight or obese subjects.
The authors conducted a meta-analysis to calculate the weighted mean difference between the intervention and control groups.
Data were included for 15 studies with 957 subjects, with interventions ranging in duration from 3 to 12 weeks.
The researchers found that compared with placebo, probiotic administration resulted in a significantly larger reduction in body weight (weighted mean difference, -0.60 kg [95% CI, -1.19 to -0.01 kg]), BMI (-0.27 kg/m² [95% CI, -0.45 to -0.08 kg/m²]), and fat percentage (-0.60% [95% CI, -1.20% to -0.01%]). The size of the effects was small. A non-significant effect of probiotics on fat mass was seen (-0.42 kg [95% CI, -1.08 to 0.23]).
The authors wrote that their meta-analysis showed that short-term probiotic supplementation reduced body weight, BMI, and fat percentage, but the effect sizes were small.
"Further long-term studies are required to examine the effects of probiotic supplementation on various measures on body weight," they added.
The study is published online in Obesity Reviews.