Probiotics may help obese children and teens lose weight alongside a low-calorie diet, new scientific study says.

Presented at the 22nd European Endocrinology Congress, a new scientific study endorses probiotics alongside a low-calorie diet to fight childhood obesity.

The study involved two so-called probiotic bacteria, Bifidobacterium BR03 and Bifidobacterium B632. This group of bacteria is part of the natural gut microbiota, and in particular helps fight other bacteria that are pathogenic, such as Escherichia coli. Bifidobacteria also help in the digestion of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

Dr. Flavia Prodam and her team from the University of Eastern Piedmont (Vercelli, Italy) recruited 100 obese children and adolescents aged 6 to 18, on a controlled calorie-controlled diet. Some were randomly given Bifidobacterium BR03 or B632 in parallel, while others did not take probiotics, just placebo, for 8 weeks. Clinical, biochemical, and biological (stool sample) analyzes were conducted to determine the effects of probiotic supplementation on weight, gut microbiota and metabolism.

Verdict: Children who took probiotics alongside the diet experienced reduced waistlines, body mass index (BMI), insulin resistance and even concentration of E.coli in their gut. Such results were not found in the group of children and adolescents who did not take probiotics, who simply lost weight.

The study suggests that probiotic supplementation alters the gut microbiota and has beneficial effects on the body's metabolism, improving weight loss. “Probiotic supplements are frequently given to people without adequate evidence. These results tend to prove the efficacy and safety of two probiotic strains in the treatment of obesity in a young population, ”commented Dr. Prodam, who led the study.

“The next step in our research is to identify patients who could benefit from this probiotic treatment, with a view to creating a more personalized weight loss strategy. We also want to analyze more clearly the role of food and probiotics on the composition of the microbiota. This could help us understand how the microbiota is different in obese young people ”, added the researcher.

Remember that it is possible, and beneficial for health, to enrich your diet with probiotics, through the consumption of yogurts but also sauerkraut or drinks made with kefir or kombucha.