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Can Your Reduce Your Belly Fat With Probiotics?

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Can Your Reduce Your Belly Fat With Probiotics?

Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous amount of research regarding the health benefits of probiotics.   One area that hasn’t been studied extensively, has been the effect of probiotics on abdominal obesity or weight loss.  However, a new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kadooka et al, 2010), explored the effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri [SBT2055 (LG2055)] on abdominal adiposity, body weight, and other body measures in adults with obese tendencies.

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics?

If you’re already confused between probiotics and prebiotics, follow the previous link for a detailed definition of each respectively.  Okay, now that you’ve read the previous post, we can take a look at the results of this recent study.

Again, probiotics are microbes including certain types of bacteria, yeast, and bacilli that may confer health benefits.  However, it’s important to keep in mind that though there are plenty of fermented products such as yogurt or dietary supplements that contain probiotics, the term probiotic itself an all-encompassing term and these products may have different compositions of specific probiotics.

Basically, this means that just because a product contains probiotics, it doesn’t mean consuming that particular product will confer health benefits specific to probiotics that it does not contain.  i.e. this recent study suggests that consuming fermented milk containing Lactobacillus gasseri will promote weight loss, but that doesn’t mean that you can sit down to a six-pack of Activia Yogurt and expect to get your weight loss on.  Activia contains Bifidobacterium animalis, which is a different probiotic.

Okay, now that I’ve let the cat out of the bag, let’s take a look at the actual study.  87 participants with body mass indexes ranging from approximately 24-31 were randomized to consuming a placebo (fermented milk) or fermented milk containing Lactobacillus gasseri. In total, they consumed 200g per day of either type of fermented milk for a total of 12 weeks.

Study results:

  • significant reduction in abdominal and visceral fat by an average of -4.6%  and -3.3% respectively in the active fermented milk group.
  • significant changes in body weight (-1.4%), BMI (-1.5%), waist (-1.8%), and hip (1.5%).
  • no statistically significant changes in any of these parameters in the control group.
    • No clinically significant side effects were observed in this study
    • The active FM (with probiotic) did not cause changes to cholesterol profiles or blood pressure.

Study conclusions:

Of these parameters, the reduction in visceral fat stands out because an excess accumulation of visceral fat is primarily involved in metabolic disorders, and visceral fat is more strongly correlated with most metabolic risk factors than subcutaneous fat (Fox et al., 2007).

We also think that the reduction in waist circumference is important because waist circumference is involved in a useful measure of fat distribution and is closely correlated with atherogenic lipid profiles (Terry et al., 1989).

Overall, these study results are fairly exciting given that they were able to achieve reductions in abdominal and visceral fat without any type of concurrent exercise involved. The actual amount of weight loss achieved in this trial in terms of changes in body mass index (BMI), or change in body weight was not spectacular though. To find out more information about Belkyra to treat the unwanted double chin, follow the link.

More importantly, where do you find a fermented milk product that contains this probiotic? I personally am not sure, so if you’re aware of any suppliers, let me know…


  • Kadooka Y, Sato M, Imaizumi K, Ogawa A, Ikuyama K, Akai Y, Okano M, Kagoshima M, Tsuchida T.  Regulation of abdominal adiposity by probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055) in adults with obese tendencies in a randomized controlled trial.  Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun;64(6):636-43. Epub 2010 Mar 10


  • sandy

    I take a probiotic supplement called OptiBac For daily wellbeing. Its comes in a capsule form rather than a milk, and is meant to be a lot stronger than the probiotics you get in yoghurt/milk. It certainly works for me anyway.

  • Sara Roberts

    I feel that probiotics are a great way to support a healthy lifestyle. I feel that a healthy digestive system can promote the road to weight loss and promote energy throughout your day. I have tried yogurt and Kefir but I have just recently found these probiotic attune bars. They have living cultures in them and are beneficial to my daily diet. Do you think the Attune bars can replace some of my other daily probiotic intakes? Another special factor to these bars is that they are only 80-100 calories and they taste incredible!

  • Richard V

    Jarret and readers, It may not be authoritative, but I did find mention of "Lactobacillus gasseri formerly called L. acidophilus" on an advert for KyoDophilus, a probiotic pill on the market, via a search engine query. If indeed the L. gasseri strain in the study is a close relative of L. acidophilus, an extremely common probiotic at least in my stomping grounds here in the U.S., this study becomes quite relevant. Wish I had a more authoritative source than a marketing blurb, but since I know Lactobacilli and Bifidum bacteria strains apparently are renamed about every decade, I can almost believe this one to be true. Regards, Richard

    • Alexandra

      Richard, I read that genetically gasseri and acidophilus are indeed different strains though they are closely related. I read that acidophilus did not achieve the same results as gasseir. I saw the claim made by KyoDophilus and found it to be troubling and bordering on false advertising.

  • Baron

    It seems no matter how many health blogs I go to and read up on probiotics, that I always seem to learn something new everyday. Great blog and BTW great probiotics too. jarrow was the very first brand I ever tried. operation pump

    • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

      Baron, thanks for your feedback. There's certainly no shortage of research studies being published about the health benefits of probiotics.

  • Dawn

    The only milk based product that I am aware of that contains Lactobacillus gasseri is sold only in Japan at this point. It is LG21 yogurt made by Meiji Dairies in Japan. There are supplements such as Iflora and Multibionta that contain L gasseri. It is most frustrating to hear about foods containing a particular type of probiotic and then find them completely unavailable to much of the world. Hopefully this yogurt will eventually make its way to the States.

    • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

      Dawn, thanks for the info. You're a wealth of info about commercially available probiotic products! I myself wonder how long it will take for a Lactobacillus gasseri product to make it to North America.

      • Alexandra

        I found another product, Omniflora N, made by Novartis but only available in Germany, it has a high concentration of gasseri. I found it on eBay, the seller will ship to the US but does not list shipping costs. This stuff is expensive but I read it has worked wonders for people who have digestive system disorders.

      • Karen

        Well, it's finally made it as of my purchase on 6-6-2013! I just bought the Phillips' Colon Health Probiotic Caps that lists Lactobacillus gasseri K13 as the top ingredient in the proprietary blend. But, there is an icon next to the name that directs you to the bottom of the supplement facts that says "Previously identified as L. acidophilus." It does not state whether they have changed the ingredients to L. gasseri or just changed names, though. So, who knows if I bought a bogus product or not?

    • Sharon

      Dawn you can get a supplement called primal defense ultra that has this in it at a high level. Only on line through Garden of Life supplements.

      • Dawn

        Thanks for the update on that Sharon. A supplement is often the only answer with some of these probiotics that are so hard to find in foods.

      • M SJohn

        Ingredient list of this product (primal defense ultra) does not show lactobascillus gasseri. HSO Probiotic Blend (5 Billion CFU) Saccharomyces boulardii, barley grass, oat grass, lactobacillus plantarum, bacillus subtilis, lactobacillus paracasei, bifidobacterium longum, lactobacillus brevis, bifidobacterium bifidum, bifidobacterium breve, bifidobacterium lactis, lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus rhamnosus, lactobacillus salivarius

    • joseph7099

      @Dawn truly awwsomw info read my question to you above on strain bc not all strains are the same?

  • Jon

    I always feel that the type of people like buy health drinks are more likely to be making other healthy changes to their lives. There is certainly something in them but exercise and a well balanced diet is the best solution really.

  • Wendy

    I have been looking into this study and wondering if the Jarro-products would produce the same results. It appears that the probiotic must be of a certain strain in order to achieve said results. Personally, that is my goat. The layer of fat that is only around my navel and it is driving me crazy. Also, I am at 14% bmi (42 yo and 140#) and struggling to get this last problem area under control. I am also aware that one's cortisol levels seem to strongly determine that area of the body. I am also considering the possible link between my cortisol levels and my caffeine intake, which may be helping to keep the navel fat there. If anyone has any suggestions, I listen with open mind and ears! I have been following Robb Wolf and Dr. Loren Cordain and eat Paleo, work out with Crossfit and Kettlebell, which has been an absolute godsend for my decades long IBS and previous autoimmune issues. All are long gone with the new, clean food, it's just the stubborn belly fat that refuses to budge (just bulge!). All suggestions are welcome.

  • joseph7099

    Dawn, I appreciate all your information. I found the omniflora on ebay, my wquestion is that I am unsure if it is the same strain that all the hype is about sbt2055. Hjow do you know its the same strain bc I want to irder some? Excuse typos I'm on mobile.

  • Lynette Henk

    I take a probiotic at cold pressed chocolate after a study showed that chocolate was the best delivery method. It is called Xobiotic. It includes a patented strain of Lactobacillus Casei 3 billion microorganisms per 3 squares. I have lost weight eating this even though the strain is different than the study. Not sure why.

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