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Probiotics has a role in weight management too

Fashionable things tend to create greater hype than what it deserves.....

Written by Neelanjana Singh |
July 18, 2009 2:18:35 am

Fashionable things tend to create greater hype than what it deserves. This principle,however,does not hold true for probiotics. In order to derive more benefits,I believe that probiotics need more publicity.

The recently discovered benefit of the use of probiotics is related to weight and obesity management.

Research regarding treatment of obesity is occupying centrestage as large number of people are falling prey to such a condition.

As a nutritionist,I feel that extreme methods such as surgical intervention in the form of gastric banding must be exercised only when it is absolutely necessary and when dealing with the morbidly obese.

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It is precisely for this reason that I am quite excited about the recent and very encouraging experiments on the role of probiotics in weight management. Experiments on mice have demonstrated that the microbes in the gut can play a significant role in the management of obesity. Obesity,put simply,reflects an imbalance in favour of the intake of energy – overeating — as opposed to the expenditure of energy. There is also an associated low- grade inflammation.

So to correct this situation one must try to create optimum metabolic processes in the body. This requires greater understanding of the processes of metabolism.

At the micro level,human metabolism can be calculated as the sum total of the metabolism of the millions of microbes living in the gut. This is why humans are also called ‘super-organisms’.

The naturally occurring beneficial bugs in our gut collectively contribute in improving our ability to extract and store energy from the diet. These bugs have an effect on bile salts and on cholesterol metabolism.

Dietary strategies thus tend to focus on stimulating the growth and metabolic activity of the beneficial microbes. In the last few years,it has become evident that the bugs in the gut can play a big role on our overall health. The good bugs can tilt the balance in favour of better immunity,increased resistance to diseases and reduction in inflammation. With each passing day I find that there is growing evidence on the strong link between gut bacteria,metabolism and immunity. The role of probiotics as food or supplement should no longer be overlooked.

In an interesting study done on children,the microbial variation in the stools was used to predict the chances of being overweight early in life. Thus,different microbes may actually influence body weight differently. I agree with the conclusions being drawn here that dietary strategies implemented via probiotics will some day in the near future reduce the risk of obesity.

So what is my advice for using probiotics to manage weight? Start taking them in a regular fashion. If nothing else,you will find that your immune system will improve and you will have fewer incidences of cough and cold. It may well be that your weight situation will also improve.

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