Have you ever been with a friend at a party, or a dinner, and thought to yourself, “Man! I wish I had her metabolism!”
You love your friend, and you don’t begrudge her good luck, but you can’t help being jealous that she can munch away on her pizza, or burger, or ice cream and stay slender. It seems like if you go even a lick off your diet, your weight balloons like that house in the movie Up! You were just born with a metabolism too slow for tasty treats!
Or were you?
For a long time, that was the conventional wisdom — your metabolism is programmed into your body by your genes and you kinda just get what you get. But new research is suggesting how your body handles the calories you eat is much more complicated than we originally thought. It’s actually determined by lots of different factors, not just your genes.
This is really exciting news for those of us for whom maintaining a healthy weight isn’t — excuse the expression — a piece of cake, because non-genetic factors are modifiable factors! And some of them easily so.
For example, do you have any idea how easy it is to alter your body’s response to food by tweaking your gut microbiota? (1)
Your Gut Microbiota
You might not be familiar with your gut microbiota by its name, but you and it are actually very intimately acquainted! Your gut microbiota literally lives inside you!
What is it?
Your gut microbiota is the collection of billions upon billions of living microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that have set up shop in your intestinal tract. (2) They grow, eat, sleep — have their entire lives right smack-dab in the center of your body. And, importantly for our weight and metabolism discussion, here, smack-dab between you and the food you eat!
Because your gut microbiota lives in your intestines, they can eat the food you eat, just like you do! But they do it first! (2)
Makes sense, right — you eat food, it goes into your intestines, your gut bacteria get a snack while the food is there before the food moves on or you absorb it!
Now, what’s super interesting about this setup is that, by munching away on bits of your food before you get to absorb it, your gut microbiota actually changes the exact mixture of molecules you actually absorb. (1)
And, as you can imagine, changing the “food” your metabolism has to work with can totally change how your metabolism works! In fact, depending on exactly how your gut microbiota breaks down the food from a meal, you can:
- Feel far more or far less full (3)
- Absorb wildly different amounts of vitamins and minerals (4)
- Have totally different hormone responses to the food (5)
- And even absorb a totally different number of calories (6)
All from the Exact. Same. Meal.
So, what determines how your gut microbiota breaks down your food? Basically, the types of bacteria which make it up! (1)
And how do you make sure you have species of bacteria in your gut that have positive effects on your metabolism and body weight? Well, the most straightforward way is to eat a diet rich in probiotics or pop a probiotic supplement containing those species! (7)
Best Probiotic Strains to For a Weight Loss
So, which species gives you the best metabolic bang for your buck and are worth hunting down a probiotic for? Based on the evidence we have now, here are the three metabolic powerhouses:
1 . Lactobacillus gasseri
By far the best probiotic bacteria for weight loss (found so far, anyway) is Lactobacillus gasseri.
In clinical trials, the Lactobacillus gasseri helped people lose significantly more weight (specifically fat weight) than people taking a placebo. (8)
Researchers think Lactobacillus gasseri is good at helping you melt fat because it keeps fat from your food from being absorbed in the first place! Less fat absorbed means less calories absorbed. And less calories absorbed means fat loss!
Best part about this little buggy-buddy? This all works without you having to eat any less than usual (though you can’t eat more!)
2 . Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is the fat-fighting runner up! It misses out on the top spot because it seems to work much better in women than men! But, for women, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to aid weight loss, specifically fat loss, and help them keep it off long-term! (9)
Researchers think Lactobacillus rhamnosus helps you lose fat by producing molecules called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). (9) They make SCFAs from fiber in your diet, then these new “food” molecules can be absorbed.
In your body, SCFAs can turn on and off all kinds of genes in your body, helping your metabolism hum along healthily. (10)
(Note: Lactobacillus rhamnosus needs fiber to make SCFAs, so make sure you’re filling up your plate with fiber-rich plant foods at the same time!)
3 . Lactobacillus salivarius
Rounding out our top three is Lactobacillus salivarius! (11)
Studies suggest that, when taken by itself, Lactobacillus salivarius can improve your metabolic health. It can make your cells more sensitive to insulin, lower your blood cholesterol and improve your triglycerides. Combined with plenty of healthy fiber, it may be able to help you lose fat, too! (11)
Researchers think Lactobacillus salivarius helps boost your metabolic health by protecting your gut from unhealthy bacteria. This allows your immune system to stop producing infection-fighting chemicals that damage your metabolism. (11)
Take Away Message
While probiotics can’t literally give you your friend’s metabolism, they can certainly help your metabolism be the best it can be! They can help you towards a healthier weight, a healthier metabolism and just a hint more wiggle room for decadent indulgences — what more could a body want!
Guest post by Nutrishatives.com