Short-Term Probiotics Increase Weight Loss in Overweight, Obesity

HealthDay News — Short-term probiotics are associated with reductions in body weight, BMI, and fat percentage in overweight or obese subjects, according to research published online in Obesity Reviews.

Heidi Borgeraas, PhD, from the Vestfold Hospital Trust in Tønsberg, Norway, and colleagues examined the effects of probiotic supplementation on body weight, BMI, fat mass, and fat percentage in overweight or obese subjects. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to calculate the weighted mean difference between the intervention and control groups. Data were included for 15 studies with 957 subjects, with interventions ranging in duration from 3 to 12 weeks.

The researchers found that, compared with placebo, probiotic administration resulted in a significantly larger reduction in body weight (weighted mean difference, -0.60 kg [95% CI, -1.19 to -0.01 kg]), BMI (-0.27 kg/m² [95% CI, -0.45 to -0.08 kg/m²]), and fat percentage (-0.60% [95% CI, -1.20% to -0.01%]). The size of the effects was small. A non-significant effect of probiotics on fat mass was seen (-0.42 kg [95% CI, -1.08 to 0.23]).

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“Our meta-analysis showed that short-term (≤12 weeks) probiotic supplementation reduced body weight, BMI, and fat percentage, but the effect sizes were small,” the authors write. “Further long-term studies are required to examine the effects of probiotic supplementation on various measures on body weight.”


Borgeraas H, Johnson LK, Skattebu J, Hertel JK, Hjelmesæth J. Effects of probiotics on body weight, body mass index, fat mass and fat percentage in subjects with overweight or obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [published online October 18, 2017]. Obes Rev. doi:10.1111/obr.12626