How Probiotics Help in Weight Loss

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The choice to use probiotics for weight loss is becoming increasingly popular, as these substances are known to positively benefit the body in a number of ways. Probiotics are microorganisms that are found in many different foods, as well as in our gut. The body plays host to thousands of different microbes, which form the microflora environment of our stomach. Much of the bacteria in our gut is beneficial, helping us properly digest our food and protect against intestinal pathogens.

However, factors like a poor diet, a weak immune system, viral or bacterial infections, or parasites in the digestive tract can wreak havoc on your microflora balance. This is where eating foods rich in probiotics is critical, as this can re-balance your stomach.

Adding certain types of probiotics to your diet has been associated with weight loss, while other probiotics are actually linked to weight gain. Strains such as Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus amylovorus, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Lactobacillus plantarum can be found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso soup, among others, and is directly linked to weight loss. Another type of probiotic is Bifidobacterium, which is not as commonly connected to weight loss but can help improve your gut health. In combination with proper exercise and other dietary aspects, using probiotics for weight loss can have rapid and long-lasting results. [1]

Probiotic bottle, almonds, beans, apples, bananas, and onions on a white background

Probiotics rebalance healthy bacteria in the gut. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits of Probiotics for Weight Loss

Some of the top benefits of utilizing probiotics for weight loss include increasing digestive efficiency, preventing fat deposition, suppressing the appetite, minimizing calorie absorption, reducing inflammation, protecting the heart, relieving stress and anxiety, and eliminating belly fat.

Reduce Calorie Absorption

Many studies have shown that the presence of certain probiotics can reduce the absorption of calories by the body, without compromising nutrient uptake. When coupled with exercise, this can lead to rapid weight loss. [2]

Improve Digestive Efficiency

When your body has the right amount of probiotics, it can absorb nutrients more effectively, requiring you to eat less before you feel full, but still getting all the minerals and vitamins your body needs. [3]

Lower Fat Deposition

Probiotics stimulate the production of various proteins that can lower the rate of fat deposition in the body, so even if your diet isn’t ideal, you can mitigate how much fat your body stores. [4]

Belly Fat

Research has shown that when you increase probiotic levels in the body, it can lead to more fat-burning. In fact, probiotics help burn twice as much visceral fat as subcutaneous fat, which can lower your risk of diabetes and heart conditions, further aiding your weight loss goals. [5]

Lower Stress

The stomach is closely related to the brain, leading to its nickname as the “second brain”, so optimizing your gut can help regulate hormones and lower stress. This can prevent stress eating and other poor lifestyle habits associated with anxiety that can prevent you from losing weight. [6]

Improve Heart Health

Numerous studies have linked the use of probiotics with lower levels of cardiovascular disease, due to its effects on diabetes and other secondary factors that can lead to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [7]

Prevent Inflammation

Many people suffer from chronic inflammation in the gut, which can lead to increased fat deposition and a slower metabolism. Probiotics, however, are able to prevent inflammation in the stomach and give the metabolism a boost to burn fat faster. [8]

Suppress Appetite

By consuming probiotic-rich foods, you can increase the amount of leptin in your body, which is the “satiety” hormone. This can help you consume fewer calories and prevent overeating and snacking between meals. [9]

Probiotic Diet

The need for probiotics can affect anyone of any body type, but for people struggling with obesity or failed weight-loss programs, it is particularly important. Your diet is a key part of your overall health, especially if you are trying to shed some pounds. An excellent probiotic diet will typically include yogurt, dark chocolate, kefir, pickles, miso soup, kimchi, kombucha tea, sauerkraut, microalgae, and various other fermented foods, as they tend to be rich in probiotics.


Perhaps the most well known probiotic food, yogurt is packed with live cultures that can repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria and

Kombucha Tea

For hundreds of years, this fermented form of tea has been used to increase metabolic activity and aid with weight loss.


Fermented cabbage has a lot of live culture bacteria, which can improve your digestive efficiency, while also boosting your vitamin A, K, and C.


All types of pickles have some level of probiotics, and while the amount may vary, this tasty snack can help speed up the metabolism and aid in weight loss.

Miso Soup

As one of the healthiest foods you can add to your body, miso soup has high levels of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, as well as many other minerals and nutrients, as well as carcinogen-fighting antioxidants.


This extremely sour pickled cabbage, which is popularly served in Asian countries and restaurants, has many probiotics that can stimulate digestion and overcome constipation while helping to rapidly re-balance your gut bacterial levels.

Dark Chocolate

Many organic forms of chocolate will include probiotics in their recipe, as chocolate has the unique ability to carry probiotics and protect them from stomach acid.

Belly Fat

Not all fats are the same, and one of the most dangerous forms is belly fat. Some people think that belly fat is just a normal part of getting older, and beneath the skin, the majority of the fat is known as subcutaneous fat, which is relatively harmless. However, the fat that develops around the internal organs and can increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular issues, as well as inflammation and a slower metabolism. While it may be a small percentage of your overall fat, visceral fat is the most dangerous, and cannot be eliminated by liposuction procedures. It must be burned off and used for energy, which is where probiotics come into play. Research has directly connected high levels of probiotics with the faster elimination of this particular type of fat. [10]

How Do Probiotics Help in Weight Loss?

Probiotics are able to help your body store less fat and burn the fat you have more efficiently, which can significantly help you in your weight-loss goals. It can also suppress your appetite and stimulate the metabolism, while also lowering your risk for other medical conditions, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, many of which can exacerbate the symptoms of obesity and make it harder to lose weight. Using the right probiotics is critical, as some strains will actually cause you to gain weight. [11] [12]

Word of Warning

Depending on your particular health status and your gastrointestinal sensitivity, there could be some side effects when using probiotics for weight loss. Due to the powerful effects that probiotics have on the gut, they can initially cause bloating, cramping and excessive gas, but these side effects should pass as the probiotics re-balance your microflora environment. Furthermore, many different medications can negate the effects of probiotics, particularly antibiotics, painkillers, steroids, and birth control pills. While you won’t necessarily experience any side effects by combining these medications with a probiotic diet, the effects that those probiotics for weight loss have will be reduced. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 4.2 out of 5.0 based on 60 user(s).