Obesity is preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, supplements, exercise and stress management. It is a significant health care problem that has increased significantly over the past several decades which leads to an increased risk of numerous chronic conditions such as, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and cancers.

Research suggests that it is not the body fat alone but the increased low-grade inflammation and metabolic dysfunction causing disease. This promotes insulin resistance in the liver and the release of inflammatory mediators from the adipose tissue. In addition, increased intestinal permeability allows translocation of proinflammatory lipopolysaccharides.

The advances in stool testing technology have revealed associations between variations of specific bacteria and increased weight gain with metabolic dysfunction and inflammation. The gut microbiome has a direct impact on metabolism, mucosal barrier, and system immune function.

Other research has indicated that obesity has a microbial component that alters the caloric extraction from ingested food. For example, if one has more Bacteroidetes bacteria, the individual tends to be leaner. High Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratios have been known to increase the caloric extraction from food and these individuals tend to be more obese. This also ties together the importance of dietary fiber, prebiotics, and weight loss.

According to a review published last month in Frontiers in Endocrinology, researchers investigated the role of ‘biotics’ (ie. prebioitcs, probiotics, and synbiotics) on overweight and obesity indicators.

These meta-analyses consisted of 97 studies. Consumption of prebiotic: 8-66 g/day, probiotic: 104 -1.35×1015 colony-forming unit (CFU)/day, and synbiotic: 106-1.5×1011 CFU/day and 0.5-300 g/day for 2 to 104 weeks demonstrated a beneficial effect on the overweight and obesity indicators. Furthermore, an inverse association was observed between biotics supplementation and overweight and obesity risk in adults in most of the studies.

As a result, Supplementation with biotics may result in beneficial effects on some anthropometric indices of overweight and obesity indicators such as body weight, BMI, and waist circumference.

Synbiotics, combining probiotics with prebiotics, show clear beneficial effects on waist and hip circumference, BMI, visceral fat areas, circulating leptin levels, lipid profile, and total oxidative stress.

Other nutrients to consider that can make similar changes in the microbiome include prebiotics that containing xylooligosaccharidies (XOS), probiotics that specifically contain Bifidobacterium species, and fish oil. These synbiotics have been shown to optimize the firmucutes/baceteroidetes ratio and fish oils improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Rasaei N, Mohammadreza H, et al. The effects of prebiotic, probiotic or synbiotic supplementation on overweight/obesity indicators: an umbrella review of the trials’ meta-analyses. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2024 Mar 20:15:1277921.

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