A recent study from Japan published in the British Journal of Nutrition found an 8.5% reduction in abdominal area fat over a 12-week period. A 2010 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed results about half as good… that’s still pretty good in my book.
This study looked at just one strain called Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055). But before you clear your schedule to find a product containing just this one strain, let me give you my take on it. Scientific studies are great at isolating one thing, testing that one thing in a well controlled, unbiased manner, and then reporting the results. That’s the way it’s done and that’s the way it should be done. However, it’s the interpretations and resulting actions that leave me scratching my head sometimes.
Our bodies contain over 100 trillion bacteria! This number ALWAYS makes me pause. It’s truly beyond the reach of my little brain to fully grasp. By comparison, in 2005, NASA estimated that we had a little over 400 billion trees on Earth. That’s not even in the same ballpark. To put it another way, we are really only about 10% human, since the bacteria in our bodies outnumber our own cells 10 to 1. Well over 500 species of beneficial bacteria call us home, and most of them live in our gut. There have been hundreds of studies showing the vast benefits of probiotics ranging from acne to weight loss.
So when I see a probiotic that contains one strain claiming to be “the one” just because a few studies showed favorable results, yes… I scratch my head. It’s like clearing huge sections of the Amazon to plant millions and millions of one species of tree because it showed a 8.5% increase in the Brazilian three horned beetle (I don’t think that’s a real thing) population. This is a very small minded… very human… very, dare I say, medical approach.
The research is clear, we all need to be taking probiotics, but it’s also very clear that we are a long long way from understanding how it all works. Our guts are ecosystems all of their own, and should be treated as such. I pick probiotic brands I can trust and rotate throughout the year. What do you do?