Probiotics May Ward Off Obesity Post-Pregnancy
Probiotics are known for their ability to help regulate your digestive system, as well as positively contribute to your health in a number of other non-digestion-related areas. And now a new study is suggesting that probiotics may play a role in a woman’s weight after she’s had a baby. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between probiotics and post-pregnancy obesity.
A new study performed at the University of Turku in Finland found that women who took probiotics during pregnancy had a reduced risk of obesity after pregnancy than those who did not. This was the first study done to test the impact of probiotics with regard to obesity. The results of the study were presented at the European Congress on Obesity. Details of the Study
The study was comprised of 256 women divided into three different groups. One group was given probiotics and dietary counseling. The second group was given the same dietary counseling with a placebo. The third group was given a placebo with no dietary counseling. The women continued taking the capsules containing the placebo or probiotics until six months after they gave birth.
The results of the study concluded that the women who took the probiotics had the lowest level of obesity one year after giving birth as well as the lowest amount of body fat. The study found that 25 percent of the women who received probiotics with dietary counseling had excess belly fat one year after pregnancy, as compared with 43 percent who only received dietary advice. Belly fat is considered to be especially harmful as it surrounds the internal organs and also increases risk for heart disease and other health problems. The findings of the study indicate that using probiotics, which have been used for years to treat intestinal illnesses, may also be able to manipulate bacteria in the gut to help fight obesity.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria used to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria that can often overgrow in the digestive system. Probiotics can control inflammation in the digestive tract and are used to help people who have digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Recently, researchers have questioned whether bacteria in the gut could make people fat. Just as an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system can make people have digestive disorders, an imbalance of bacteria in the gut may cause obesity, according to theories tested by this research.
The women in the study group began taking the probiotics in the first trimester of pregnancy. The average body fat percentage for the women in the group that received the probiotics was 28 percent. The women who received diet counseling as well as the placebo had a higher average of body fat at 29 percent. The women who did not receive probiotics or counseling averaged 30 percent body fat. The study was limited because it could not control the weight of the mothers prior to pregnancy.
The study plans to continue to follow the women and their children to see if there is a difference in the outcomes of the health of the children due to weight. The effects of obesity in a pregnant woman can have a significant impact on the child. The advantages of this study, according to researchers, were not only to see the impact of probiotics on obesity in pregnant women, but also the impact of obesity of their children as well.
For more information on probiotics and their health benefits, visit the Bacteral website