Shopping Basket

Probiotic Supplements and Weight Loss: The Connection Explained

In recent years, we’ve seen a real surge in the popularity of probiotics. They’ve long been praised for their role in digestive health and immune function. Beyond their common uses, however, emerging research suggests a fascinating link between probiotics and weight loss. 

This emerging connection offers hope to those navigating the challenges of weight management, however, the complexity of the human body and its myriad responses to dietary supplements underscores the importance of seeking personalised advice from your GP before going full steam ahead on using probiotics for weight loss.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, often referred to as "good" or "beneficial" bacteria, which offer a health benefit when administered in adequate amounts. These benefits range from improved digestive health to enhanced immune response [1]. 

The most common types of probiotics belong to the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, each comprising various strains that offer distinct health benefits. 

Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and supplements. With their growing popularity, probiotics have been extensively studied for their potential health benefits, including their impact on weight management.

Learn more about Probiotics with our comprehensive guide here.

The Science Behind Probiotics and Weight Loss

Gut Microbiota and Metabolism

The human gut microbiota plays a crucial role in metabolism, digestion, and nutrient absorption. An imbalance in gut microbiota can lead to metabolic disorders and obesity [2]. 

Probiotics interact with the gut microbiota, potentially restoring balance and supporting a healthy metabolism. This interaction can influence weight management, suggesting a promising link between probiotic supplementation and weight loss.

Scientific Studies and Evidence

Several studies have provided evidence supporting the connection between probiotics and weight loss. 

For instance, a study found that certain probiotic strains could reduce body weight and fat mass in overweight individuals [3]. 

However, it's crucial to note the variability in study outcomes, highlighting the need for further research to fully understand the efficacy and limitations of probiotics for weight loss.

Mechanisms of Action

Probiotics may aid weight loss through several mechanisms: by altering the absorption of dietary fat, increasing the release of satiety hormones, reducing inflammation, and influencing the genes related to obesity and metabolic disease [4]. 

These cellular mechanisms showcase the multifaceted role probiotics play in weight management.

Potential Benefits of Probiotics for Weight Loss

Improved Digestive Efficiency

Probiotics can enhance gut health, leading to more efficient digestion and energy utilisation. This improvement may contribute to weight loss by ensuring a more effective nutrient absorption and energy expenditure.

Enhanced Metabolism

Certain probiotics have been observed to potentially increase metabolic rate, helping the body burn calories more efficiently, thereby aiding in weight management [5].

Reduced Fat Storage

Research suggests that some probiotic strains can decrease the amount of dietary fat absorbed in the intestine, reducing the overall fat stored in the body [6].

Appetite Regulation

Probiotics may influence the production of hormones related to hunger and satiety, which can help control appetite and reduce calorie intake [7].

Reduced Inflammation

Systemic inflammation is linked to obesity. Probiotics may help reduce inflammation, thereby indirectly supporting weight loss efforts [8].

Improved Mental Health

The gut-brain axis plays a role in mental well-being. By improving gut health, probiotics could potentially reduce stress and emotional eating, indirectly aiding weight loss [9].

Potential Probiotic Risks and Side Effects

While probiotics are generally safe for many people, they can cause side effects, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhoea, especially when beginning a regimen. 

There's also a rare risk of infection and potential interactions with medications, highlighting the importance of having a chat with your GP before starting on a full course of probiotics for weight loss. [10]

Best Practices for Using Probiotic Supplements for Weight Loss

Types of Probiotic Strains Effective for Weight Loss

Not all probiotic strains are effective for weight management. Selecting the right strains is crucial for achieving desired weight loss outcomes.

Lactobacillus Gasseri

This strain has shown promise in research for its potential impact on weight loss, making it a popular choice among weight management supplements [11].

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

The same research also demonstrated the weight-loss benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, particularly in women, hinting at its effectiveness in a weight management strategy [12].

Bifidobacterium Breve

A clinical trial on Bifidobacterium Breve indicates its potential benefits in reducing body fat and supporting weight loss efforts [13].

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Lactobacillus Plantarum has been associated with weight loss in a recent study, making it another viable option for those looking to manage their weight through probiotics [14].

Dosage and Timing

When incorporating probiotic supplements into a weight loss regimen, understanding the importance of dosage and timing is crucial for maximising their effectiveness. The effectiveness of probiotics is not only dependent on the strain and quality but also on the quantity consumed and the timing of consumption.

What’s The Ideal Probiotics Dosage for Weight Loss?

For weight loss and general gut health, doses are typically measured in colony-forming units (CFUs), with recommendations ranging from 1 billion to 100 billion CFUs per day. However, there is no one-size-fits-all dosage for probiotics, and the effective dose can vary based on the individual's health status, age, and the specific strains of probiotics used.

It is essential to start with a lower dose to assess tolerance before gradually increasing to the desired dosage. Some studies have found that a higher dose of probiotics is more effective for weight loss and improving gut health, but this can vary between individuals [15]

Always check the label for the recommended dosage and it never hurts to seek a second opinion from your GP to work out your ideal dosage. 

When's The Best Time to Take Probiotics for Weight Loss? 

The timing of when you take probiotics can also influence their effectiveness. While there is ongoing debate about the best time to take probiotics, some evidence suggests that taking them on an empty stomach ensures the highest survival rates of the probiotic bacteria as they pass through the acidic environment of the stomach. 

This typically means taking probiotic supplements first thing in the morning, 15 to 30 minutes before breakfast, or just before bedtime when the stomach's acid production is lower.

However, some studies and certain probiotic formulations may recommend taking the supplement with a meal or shortly after, as the food can act as a buffer to protect the bacteria as they make their way through the digestive system [16]. This can be particularly relevant for strains that are more sensitive to acidic environments.

At the end of the day, the most effective approach to dosage and timing will inevitably vary from person to person, and there are many factors at play. Best to consult with your GP for definitive answers on the best approach for you. 

Lifestyle Considerations

As much as we wish it wasn't the case, weight loss is never as simple as taking a supplement. For probiotics to be effective in weight loss, you should make them a part of a broader lifestyle change that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.


The connection between probiotics and weight loss is supported by scientific evidence, suggesting probiotics can be a valuable tool in weight management strategies. 

However, the efficacy of probiotics varies, underscoring the importance of personalised healthcare advice. Incorporating the right strains of probiotics, along with a healthy lifestyle, may offer a complementary approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Check Our References

[1] Probiotics Mechanism of Action on Immune Cells and Beneficial Effects on Human Health, Cells Journal, (  

[2] Gut Microbiota as a Trigger for Metabolic Inflammation in Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, Frontiers in Immunology, (

[3] Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Weight Loss in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review, Nutrients, (

[4] The Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Obesity in Adults and the Role of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics for Weight Loss, Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, (

[5] Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Weight Loss in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review, Nutrients, (

[6] Probiotics for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Humans—A Review of Clinical Trials, Microorganisms, (  

[7] The Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity, Nutrients, (

[8] Probiotics therapy show significant improvement in obesity and neurobehavioral disorders symptoms, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Micribiology, (

[9] Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human–bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, (

[10] Emerging issues in probiotic safety: 2023 perspectives, PubMed Central, (

[11]  Probiotics: How Effective Are They in the Fight against Obesity?, Nutrients, (

[12]  Probiotics: How Effective Are They in the Fight against Obesity?, Nutrients, (

[13] Body Fat Reduction Effect of Bifidobacterium breve B-3: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Comparative Clinical Trial, Nutrients, (

[14] Weight-Reducing Effect of Lactobacillus Plantarum ZJUFT17 Isolated from Sourdough Ecosystem, Nutrients, (

[15] Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Weight Loss in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review, Nutrients, (

[16] The impact of meals on a probiotic during transit through a model of the human upper gastrointestinal tract, Beneficial Microbes, (

Introducing Loyalty Points

Redeem points for rewards from Revital Ltd

£5 voucher
100 points
£10 voucher
200 points
£15 voucher
300 points

Earn points when you complete activities

Make a purchase
1 point per £1
Create an account
25 points
Refer friends
200 points