If it seems like we’re discussing gut health quite a bit lately, you’re right.
Gut health and the microbiome is all the rage these days, and for good reason -- there’s a seemingly endless array of activities in which the gut microbiome is involved, including everything from the appearance of your skin to how you think, feel, and perform.
One area that we haven’t addressed yet that is gaining more attention from the research community is the impact of gut health on weight loss.
How does the gut help or hinder weight loss and body transformation? And could it be the one thing that is stopping you from getting the results you want?
The Role of Gut Bacteria in Weight Loss
As you know, when we eat food, it passes through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract during which a mix of stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and bacteria break down protein, fats, and carbohydrates into smaller molecules that can then be absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by our bodies.
The bacteria are primarily tasked with breaking down fiber (the indigestible portion of plant foods) as they use it for energy. In addition to breaking down fiber, the gut bacteria can also influence metabolism, immune function, and mental health.
More specifically, gut microbes impact energy metabolism by regulating glucose metabolism, appetite, and fat storage.
Based on this, the composition of your gut bacteria could affect how much you eat as well as how frequently you eat, not to mention how many calories you’re absorbing from the meals you consume.
Previous studies have shown an association between the ratio of certain gut bacteria and increased rates of obesity and diabetes.[1,2] Additional animal research has found that when the gut bacteria from obese individuals are put into mice, the mice gain weight, giving further evidence that gut bacteria play a role in body composition and weight loss.
Other studies find that individuals with higher fiber intakes tend to have lower body weights and a more favorable body composition. As we mentioned above, fiber feeds the bacteria in your gut, keeping them strong and healthy. When gut bacteria ferment fiber, they generate a number of beneficial compounds, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, which are known to confer anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition to serving as a necessary energy source for gut bacteria, butyrate also serves as an important chemical messenger in the body that can increase levels of GLP-1 and PYY levels as well as inhibit ghrelin (the “hunger” hormone) secretion. In other words, butyrate signaling may help to increase feelings of satiety and reduce appetite, which supports weight loss.
Furthermore, acetate, another short-chain fatty acid generated by gut bacteria, is taken up by the brain and plays a direct role in suppressing appetite.
To top it off, gut bacteria can also affect the central nervous system’s control of appetite by producing serotonin and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which play a role in appetite, satiety, and energy balance.
What About Prebiotic & Probiotic Supplements and Weight Loss?
As you can see, the gut microbiome plays a tremendous role in how the body utilizes nutrients as well as the body’s innate hunger and satiety cues.
Based on these findings, researchers have experimented with adding prebiotic and probiotics supplements to individuals’ diet to see what effects, if any, they would have.
Previous studies with prebiotics supplements (Greens & Reds Superfoods Plus) have found that they can modulate gut microbiota as well as significantly reduce body weight, body fat percentage, and desire for high-calorie foods. Moreover, fiber supplements have also been found to improve insulin sensitivity and low-grade chronic inflammation [4,5]
As for probiotics (“good” gut bacteria), a recent systematic review (an analysis of numerous individual research studies) concluded that consuming probiotics may lead to “significant weight reductions, either maintaining habitual lifestyle habits or in combination with energy restriction and/or increased physical activity…”
In other words, researchers found that supplementing with probiotics supports weight loss, whether or not you stick to your current diet and exercise regimen or increase what you’re already doing.
The Bottom Line
If you haven’t figured it out by now, gut health is MASSIVELY important. It affects how you think, feel, exercise, eat, etc.
A healthy gut microbiome begins with a nutritious diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc. This lays the foundation for a happy, healthy gut.
For convenient and natural gut health support you can look to supplements, such as 1UP Greens & Reds Superfoods Plus. Every serving of our vegan greens & reds superfoods supplement supplies 19 organic fruits and vegetables along with prebiotic fiber, digestive enzymes, and heat-stable probiotics to support gut health, performance, mood, and weight loss. See breakdown below
The "pro-" prefix dictates good microorganisms that provide a health benefits. Supports a healthy digestive system by promoting the production of good gut bacteria. Not only does the health & diversity of our gut microbiome affect our digestive health, but it can also impact numerous other aspects of daily life, including immune function, cognition, and mood as well as the quality and appearance of your hair, skin, & nails. We use high quality trademarked probiotics Lactospore®
Organic Prebiotic Fiber
Serves a highly important role for the GI tract - it serves as “food” for the trillions of bacteria that reside in our bodies. Helps improve gut health by feeding gut bacteria
Digestive Enzymes - DigeZyme®
Play a key role in breaking down the food you eat. These proteins speed up chemical reactions that turn nutrients into substances that your digestive tract can absorb. We use high quality trademarked digestive Enzymes DigeZyme®
- Agus A, Clément K, Sokol HGut microbiota-derived metabolites as central regulators in metabolic disordersGut 2021;70:1174-1182.
- Sun, L., Ma, L., Ma, Y. et al. Insights into the role of gut microbiota in obesity: pathogenesis, mechanisms, and therapeutic perspectives. Protein Cell 9, 397–403 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13238-018-0546-3
- Ridaura VK, Faith JJ, Rey FE, Cheng J, Duncan AE, Kau AL, Griffin NW, Lombard V, Henrissat B, Bain JR, Muehlbauer MJ, Ilkayeva O, Semenkovich CF, Funai K, Hayashi DK, Lyle BJ, Martini MC, Ursell LK, Clemente JC, Van Treuren W, Walters WA, Knight R, Newgard CB, Heath AC, Gordon JI. Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice. Science. 2013 Sep 6;341(6150):1241214. doi: 10.1126/science.1241214. PMID: 24009397; PMCID: PMC3829625.
- Dewulf EM, Cani PD, Claus SP, Fuentes S, Puylaert PG, Neyrinck AM, Bindels LB, de Vos WM, Gibson GR, Thissen JP et al (2013) Insight into the prebiotic concept: lessons from an exploratory, double blind intervention study with inulin-type fructans in obese women. Gut 62:1112–1121
- Hume MP, Nicolucci AC, Reimer RA (2017) Prebiotic supplementation improves appetite control in children with overweight and obesity: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 105:790–799
- Álvarez-Arraño V, Martín-Peláez S. Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Weight Loss in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 17;13(10):3627. doi: 10.3390/nu13103627. PMID: 34684633; PMCID: PMC8540110.