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New Research: Probiotics improve body weight, body fat, and heart health in adults

What kind of study was this?

This was a systematic review and a meta-analysis. This means that researchers set out to review all the previous research published on a particular topic. A systematic review will often summarize the findings qualitatively, in writing. Meta-analyses, however, summarize the findings quantitatively. This study did both.

What did researchers want to know?

The researchers noted that randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are the gold-standard type of study in health science, haven’t always shown the same results for probiotics on weight, body fat, and heart health. So, they wanted to know what would happen if they looked at all the published RCTs on this topic.

What did the researchers actually do?

Before starting the review they decided what types of studies they would include and exclude (these are known as inclusion and exclusion criteria). They decided they’d only review studies that were RCTs that examined the effects of probiotics in adults on weight loss, body fat (what they call “adiposity”), and heart health (what they call cardiovascular disease risk markers). They then summarized the findings in writing (qualitatively) and used statistics to estimate the average results of all the studies reviewed.

What did the researchers find?

They found that, when all the RCTs are taken together, probiotics had a statistically significant effect on reducing body weight and body fat and improving markers of heart health. They found that body weight, body fat, and heart health markers improved in studies that looked both at probiotics with a single bacterial species and in studies that looked at multiple bacterial species. But body fat (adiposity) only improved when the probiotic pills had over 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) and were taken for over eight weeks continuously.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

There hasn’t been a systematic review and meta-analysis like this for children, but other reviews like this suggest that these findings in adults should hold for kids as well. This study suggests that a probiotic for adults should have over 10 billion CFU and should be taken over eight weeks straight. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that probiotics between 5-10 billion CFU are safe for kids.

Original article:
Pontes KSDS, et al. Effects of probiotics on body adiposity and cardiovascular risk markers in individuals with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2021 Aug;40(8):4915-4931. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.023. Epub 2021 Jul 3. PMID: 34358838.
https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(21)00319-8/fulltext

New Research: Probiotics improve body weight, body fat, and heart health in adults

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New Research: Probiotics improve body weight, body fat, and heart health in adults

Learn more about how probiotics can boost your overall health — not just your gut's!

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Key takeaways

1

Not all studies of probiotics have shown the same results for the effects of probiotics

2

This study reviewed all the published randomized controlled trials that examined the effects of probiotics in adults on changes in weight, body fat, and heart health

3

When taken together, studies show that probiotics have a positive effect on adult weight, body fat, and heart health

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Reading time:

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What kind of study was this?

This was a systematic review and a meta-analysis. This means that researchers set out to review all the previous research published on a particular topic. A systematic review will often summarize the findings qualitatively, in writing. Meta-analyses, however, summarize the findings quantitatively. This study did both.

What did researchers want to know?

The researchers noted that randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are the gold-standard type of study in health science, haven’t always shown the same results for probiotics on weight, body fat, and heart health. So, they wanted to know what would happen if they looked at all the published RCTs on this topic.

What did the researchers actually do?

Before starting the review they decided what types of studies they would include and exclude (these are known as inclusion and exclusion criteria). They decided they’d only review studies that were RCTs that examined the effects of probiotics in adults on weight loss, body fat (what they call “adiposity”), and heart health (what they call cardiovascular disease risk markers). They then summarized the findings in writing (qualitatively) and used statistics to estimate the average results of all the studies reviewed.

What did the researchers find?

They found that, when all the RCTs are taken together, probiotics had a statistically significant effect on reducing body weight and body fat and improving markers of heart health. They found that body weight, body fat, and heart health markers improved in studies that looked both at probiotics with a single bacterial species and in studies that looked at multiple bacterial species. But body fat (adiposity) only improved when the probiotic pills had over 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) and were taken for over eight weeks continuously.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

There hasn’t been a systematic review and meta-analysis like this for children, but other reviews like this suggest that these findings in adults should hold for kids as well. This study suggests that a probiotic for adults should have over 10 billion CFU and should be taken over eight weeks straight. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that probiotics between 5-10 billion CFU are safe for kids.

Original article:
Pontes KSDS, et al. Effects of probiotics on body adiposity and cardiovascular risk markers in individuals with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2021 Aug;40(8):4915-4931. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.023. Epub 2021 Jul 3. PMID: 34358838.
https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(21)00319-8/fulltext

What kind of study was this?

This was a systematic review and a meta-analysis. This means that researchers set out to review all the previous research published on a particular topic. A systematic review will often summarize the findings qualitatively, in writing. Meta-analyses, however, summarize the findings quantitatively. This study did both.

What did researchers want to know?

The researchers noted that randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are the gold-standard type of study in health science, haven’t always shown the same results for probiotics on weight, body fat, and heart health. So, they wanted to know what would happen if they looked at all the published RCTs on this topic.

What did the researchers actually do?

Before starting the review they decided what types of studies they would include and exclude (these are known as inclusion and exclusion criteria). They decided they’d only review studies that were RCTs that examined the effects of probiotics in adults on weight loss, body fat (what they call “adiposity”), and heart health (what they call cardiovascular disease risk markers). They then summarized the findings in writing (qualitatively) and used statistics to estimate the average results of all the studies reviewed.

What did the researchers find?

They found that, when all the RCTs are taken together, probiotics had a statistically significant effect on reducing body weight and body fat and improving markers of heart health. They found that body weight, body fat, and heart health markers improved in studies that looked both at probiotics with a single bacterial species and in studies that looked at multiple bacterial species. But body fat (adiposity) only improved when the probiotic pills had over 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) and were taken for over eight weeks continuously.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

There hasn’t been a systematic review and meta-analysis like this for children, but other reviews like this suggest that these findings in adults should hold for kids as well. This study suggests that a probiotic for adults should have over 10 billion CFU and should be taken over eight weeks straight. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that probiotics between 5-10 billion CFU are safe for kids.

Original article:
Pontes KSDS, et al. Effects of probiotics on body adiposity and cardiovascular risk markers in individuals with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2021 Aug;40(8):4915-4931. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.023. Epub 2021 Jul 3. PMID: 34358838.
https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(21)00319-8/fulltext

What kind of study was this?

This was a systematic review and a meta-analysis. This means that researchers set out to review all the previous research published on a particular topic. A systematic review will often summarize the findings qualitatively, in writing. Meta-analyses, however, summarize the findings quantitatively. This study did both.

What did researchers want to know?

The researchers noted that randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are the gold-standard type of study in health science, haven’t always shown the same results for probiotics on weight, body fat, and heart health. So, they wanted to know what would happen if they looked at all the published RCTs on this topic.

What did the researchers actually do?

Before starting the review they decided what types of studies they would include and exclude (these are known as inclusion and exclusion criteria). They decided they’d only review studies that were RCTs that examined the effects of probiotics in adults on weight loss, body fat (what they call “adiposity”), and heart health (what they call cardiovascular disease risk markers). They then summarized the findings in writing (qualitatively) and used statistics to estimate the average results of all the studies reviewed.

What did the researchers find?

They found that, when all the RCTs are taken together, probiotics had a statistically significant effect on reducing body weight and body fat and improving markers of heart health. They found that body weight, body fat, and heart health markers improved in studies that looked both at probiotics with a single bacterial species and in studies that looked at multiple bacterial species. But body fat (adiposity) only improved when the probiotic pills had over 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) and were taken for over eight weeks continuously.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

There hasn’t been a systematic review and meta-analysis like this for children, but other reviews like this suggest that these findings in adults should hold for kids as well. This study suggests that a probiotic for adults should have over 10 billion CFU and should be taken over eight weeks straight. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that probiotics between 5-10 billion CFU are safe for kids.

Original article:
Pontes KSDS, et al. Effects of probiotics on body adiposity and cardiovascular risk markers in individuals with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2021 Aug;40(8):4915-4931. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.023. Epub 2021 Jul 3. PMID: 34358838.
https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(21)00319-8/fulltext

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