By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali
You’ve been trying to lose weight for years now, but nothing seems to work for you. This problem is getting on your nerves because its getting difficult day by day to shed those extra pounds off your body. You get exasperated just by looking at that enormous belly, and by the fact that you’re not being able to do anything about it. Well, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. There are countless people who are experiencing similar problems, and regardless of the endless fixes out there, people are often left feeling hopeless and frustrated.
The common method that many people follow is that they decrease their calorie intake and increase calorie expenditure. The ‘eat less and work more’ formula is quite understandable, however, what they fail to consider is that the human body is highly complex, and there is a lot more that needs to be taken into account than just the amount of calories consumed, and the number of calories burned. Although, there are countless of factors that play a significant role in weight management, such as the things you eat, how much you sleep, your lifestyle, the level of stress, and much more. However, the most important fact that needs contemplation is that the groundwork of your metabolism, in reality, exists in your gut. A number of studies have confirmed that the gut microbiome is the core factor behind energy imbalance, obesity, reduced immunity, and other health problems (Turnbaugh and Gordon, 2009; Kau, et al., 2011; Round and Mazmanian, 2009). Hence, you need to improve your gut health to reach your health goals.
The Gut Health
When I say Gut health, I am not referring to the size of your waist. I’m not even talking about your cells or organs. What I’m referring to are the countless microorganisms present inside your digestive tract that make up your gut microbiome. The trillions of tiny little microbes present inside your body work relentlessly hard to maintain your health. Moreover, the friendly bacteria present in your gut help in digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, sleeping, regulating your immune system and keeping your stress level in check. Health Studies have confirmed that the gut microbiota plays a significant role in a number of bodily processes, such as, keeping hormones in check, controlling stress, and regulating weight (Bajzer and Seeley, 2006; Rosenbaum, Knight and Leibel, 2015; Mishra, Dubey and Gosh, 2016; Kelly, et al., 2015).
Probiotics (The Gut Flora)
So now we know that the good guy gut bacteria work hard to maintain our health. It reduces the level of cortisol ‘the stress hormone’, and increases serotonin ‘the happy chemical’ in our body. Moreover, the probiotics increase our body’s ‘leptin sensitivity’, which enables the brain to get the ‘Fullness’ signal. Hence, reducing calorie intake.
However, the question is whether probiotics actually work in reducing weight, and shedding off belly fat? Fortunately, you don’t need to take my word for it. A health study published in the British Journal of Nutrition confirmed that women who were ingested with probiotics daily for six months experienced significant body weight changes and reductions in body fat (Sanchez, et al., 2013). Another health study confirmed that ingestion of probiotics reduced BMI and weight in adults (Zhang, Wu, and Fei, 2016). Hence, ingestion of probiotics ensures microbial balance in the digestive tract and gets your metabolism and weight on track.
What you need to do
Nurture your gut by adding foods enriched with high-quality probiotics to your diet. You can load up on fermented Milk ‘Yogurt’ for a powerful probiotics enhancement, or stick with honey, oats, bananas, onions, and all kinds of fruits. Stay away from Probiotic Killers, avoid ingestion of antibiotics as much as possible. Refrain yourself from using antibacterial chemicals, try using a gentle soap or Apple Cider Vinegar. Limit yourself from exposure to environmental toxins, and pollution, because they harm the gut microbiome, disturb the hormonal balance and result in weight gain.
Although exercising and diet control is important, however, when it comes to improving the body’s metabolism, and maintaining weight, then a holistic approach is necessary.
Bajzer, M. and Seeley, R.J., 2006. Physiology: obesity and gut flora. Nature, 444(7122), p.1009.
Kau, et al., 2011. Human nutrition, the gut microbiome and the immune system. Nature, 474(7351), p.327.
Kelly, et al., 2015. Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 9, p.392.
Mishra, A.K., Dubey, V. and Ghosh, A.R., 2016. Obesity: an overview of possible role (s) of gut hormones, lipid sensing and gut microbiota. Metabolism, 65(1), pp.48-65.
Rosenbaum, M., Knight, R. and Leibel, R.L., 2015. The gut microbiota in human energy homeostasis and obesity. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 26(9), pp.493-501.
Round, J.L. and Mazmanian, S.K., 2009. The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nature Reviews Immunology, 9(5), p.313.
Sanchez, et al., 2013. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(08), pp.1507-1519.
Turnbaugh, P.J. and Gordon, J.I., 2009. The core gut microbiome, energy balance and obesity. The Journal of physiology, 587(17), pp.4153-4158.
Zhang, Q., Wu, Y., & Fei, X., 2016. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 67(5), pp.571-580.