There has been a lot of research on the connection between our gastrointestinal flora and our weight, and while there are still unanswered questions, there is strong evidence that supports that a healthy gut biome is important for a healthy weight. One of the ways to support healthy gastrointestinal flora is to take a daily probiotic supplement. Probiotics are the so-called “good” bacteria that aid in proper digestion of food.
A study out of Stanford, University demonstrated that by taking a probiotic daily, gastric bypass patients lost more weight than they would without the probiotic. John Morton, MD and his team led the study that took 2 groups of gastric bypass patients and gave half of them a probiotic every day, while the other half of the patients did not. Both groups had surgery with the same surgeon and received the same pre and post-surgery care. Both groups were allowed to consume yogurt, a natural source of probiotics, but only the probiotic group took an additional probiotic supplement daily.
After 3 months, the probiotic group registered 47.6% weight loss, compared with 38% in the non-probiotic group. The study also found that vitamin B12 levels were higher in patients taking probiotics.
There is some discussion that gastric bypass may alter gastrointestinal flora, possibly resulting in bacterial overgrowth and dysmotility. This may be related to a change in the acid levels after gastric bypass. However, some studies show improvement in weight even if they have not had surgery, so the cause of altered flora is not clear.
There are approximately 15 million Americans who suffer from morbid obesity and the only consistent treatment with long-standing results is bariatric surgery. As we continue to proceed into the future of bariatrics, we are constantly learning, discovering better ways to help patients manage obesity and to stay successful long-term. If you are interested in discussing this further, schedule an appointment at Sage Bariatric with a provider or our dietician.