Probiotics are the “good bacteria” in your gut, and they feed on prebiotics (special dietary fibers). Because they affect your digestion, you might be wondering whether probiotics can have an effect on your appetite.
You know, as someone who has struggled with gut health issues in the past, I can attest to the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. One of the most popular ways to do so is by taking probiotics. However, as I quickly learned, not all probiotics are created equal.
In fact, some can even make you feel hungrier than before!
In this blog post, we’ll explore the relationship between probiotics and hunger, and uncover the truth behind whether or not these beneficial bacteria can actually leave you feeling ravenous.
- Probiotics have different effects on different people and may either suppress or increase appetite.
- Probiotics can help with weight loss by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and curbing appetite to some extent.
- Probiotics can also suppress appetite and hunger cravings by promoting the release of appetite-reducing hormones.
- However a few studies show that probiotics can increase appetite, but the exact mechanisms behind this remain unknown.
- Click here for the BEST PRICE of our recommend probiotics supplement
So, what is the truth?
How Do Probiotics Work in Your Body?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed. They are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep our gut healthy.
They are mostly found in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in probiotic supplements.
When we eat probiotic-rich foods or take a probiotic supplement, the live microorganisms travel through our digestive system and eventually make their way into our gut. There, they attach to the lining of our intestines and begin to multiply.
Some of the health benefits associated with probiotics include:
- improved digestion
- reduced inflammation
- strengthened immunity
- better absorption of vitamins and minerals
- prevention of diarrhea
- reduced risk of some gastrointestinal disorders
I came to believe that probiotics work by influencing the gut microbiota, which is the community of bacteria that live in our gut.
Gut microbiota is the term for the trillions of bacteria that live in your intestines and play a major role in keeping you healthy.
There are many different types of bacteria in your gut, and each one has its own unique set of genes. Your gut microbiota helps you digest food, synthesize vitamins, regulate your immune system, and control inflammation.
It also plays a role in mood and mental health.
My latest gut health statistics have it that 70% of our immune system is in our gut, it helps help to train our immune cells to distinguish between harmful and harmless substances, which helps to reduce the risk of infection.
Finally, probiotics also produce short-chain fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Do Probiotics Make You Hungry?
From my personal experience – consuming probiotics for over 13 years – I’ve never felt an increase in appetite or hunger from taking them. Instead, I feel more energetic and my overall mood is improved.
I also did some research (for the benefit of the doubt) on the subject and found that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that probiotics make you hungrier.
I know, it’s a common misconception by some people (just a few are users) that probiotics could make you hungry. In actuality, probiotics have the opposite effect and can help to curb your appetite to some extent.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (usually bacteria) that are similar to the ones already found in your gut. When you take them, they colonize your gut and promote a healthy digestive system.
One of the ways they do this is by helping you break down food more efficiently, which can lead to feeling fuller faster and eating less overall.
Additionally, probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can play a role in weight gain. So if you’re looking to lose weight or keep it off, adding probiotics to your diet may be a helpful strategy.
Before I get into how losing weight and probiotics work, let me share some views relating to probiotics making you feel hungry – I found on Quora:
First, a user said that he does crave sugar/carbs after having high doses of probiotics (usually in fermented drinks like kefir) and the craving dies in a few hours if he doesn’t give in to it.
From his experience, not giving in to the temptation gives the probiotics room to work – and after a few hours, the cravings are gone.
Another user said that it could be because of a lack of sufficient fiber intake.
He also further suggests that whenever you feel hungry when taking probiotics – the below might be the reasons:
- They produce lactic acid that affects the acidity of your stomach and stimulates your hunger mechanism
- The lactic acid dilutes your dietary fat and probably will make you hungrier if your daily diet is high in fat (or meat for instance)
- You don’t eat enough prebiotics so the lactic bacterias consume whatever is left in your intestine (mostly sugars), but it’s only my hypothesis
- That’s only your psychological feeling
I do agree with the above points to be true because when we don’t have enough fiber in our diet, the good bacteria in our gut start to feast on the mucus lining of our intestine, which can lead to inflammation and hunger pangs.
Now that we know that probiotics don’t make you hungry, let’s look at how they can help with weight loss.
Do Probiotics Increase Appetite?
Yes, it does 100%. Based on the results of a clinical trial published in 2012, probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum can help improve appetite.
However, you shouldn’t worry too much about gaining a lot of weight if your appetite increases due to probiotics.
The same study didn’t find a significant difference in the weight or BMI of the study subjects within the 8-week clinical trial period.
The researchers of this clinical trial also studied the effects of prebiotics on the existing probiotics in another set of study subjects’ tummies.
Surprisingly, prebiotic administration in the study didn’t show a significant effect on appetite.
Why Do Probiotics Make You Feel Hungry?
Although some studies show that probiotics or gut bacteria can make you feel hungry, as discussed above, the exact mechanisms of why that happens to remain unknown.
However, scientists theorize that these might be affected by the following:
Effect Of Gut Bacteria On Appetite Regulation
Probiotics can improve digestion. By making this process more efficient, the time food spends in your tummy might be shortened, possibly making you feel hungry earlier than you usually did before you took probiotic supplements.
Effect On Your Tummy’s Chemical Composition
Probiotics also have the capability to produce or encourage and influence the production of different types of enzymes, such as certain digestive enzymes, that help digest certain foods.
Many probiotic species such as Lactobacillus casei can produce enzymes such as lactase, which helps with the digestion of lactose (a sugar in dairy products).
Some species from the Lactobacillus genera can increase the production of amylase, an enzyme that helps in carbohydrate digestion.
Probiotics can directly affect your tummy’s chemical composition by helping enrich the specific gut microbial populations which ferment carbohydrates preferentially. Thanks to this mechanism, carbohydrates, and SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) are processed more efficiently.
But the action can also lead to you feeling hungry because your body has already digested the food in your tummy more quickly.
Probiotics & Controlling Hunger Cravings
Although some probiotics can increase your appetite, this effect isn’t universal because some probiotics may also suppress your appetite and hunger cravings.
For example, one study shows that probiotics can promote the release of the hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), an appetite-reducing hormone. It resulted in reduced food intake of test subjects.
Probiotics and Weight Loss: What’s their relationship?
You’ve probably heard a lot about probiotics and their many benefits. But did you know that one of those benefits might be weight loss?
Well, it’s true!
This systematic review confirms it:
The review indicated that both probiotics and synbiotics, specifically certain strains of Lactobacillus gasseri, L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. curvatus associated with other Lactobacillus species and/or with species from the Bifidobacterium genus, have the potential to aid in weight and fat mass loss in overweight and obese populations.
Although there is still a need for clinical trials, in order to state more accurate recommendations in terms of strains, doses, and intervention times.
I also stumbled on an article on Healthline on how probiotics can help you lose weight.
Well, probiotics can help you lose weight in a few different ways.
First, probiotics can help you feel fuller for longer. They do this by helping to slow down digestion so that you absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. This means that you’re less likely to feel hungry between meals.
Second, probiotics can help your body to better absorb the nutrients it needs. This is because they increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. These good bacteria help your body to break down food and absorb the nutrients it needs.
Third, probiotics can help to reduce the amount of fat your body (especially the belly area) absorbs from food. This is because they help to break down the fats in food so that your body can more easily absorb them.
So, as you can see, the relationship between gut health and weight loss is well-established.
And a number of studies have shown that probiotics can help with weight loss, but it’s important to remember that they are not a magic bullet, in fact, the FDA has not approved probiotics or any health claims for probiotics sold in the United States.
Obviously, it is not news that dietary supplements don’t require FDA approval, so?
Here’s a screenshot from the FDA’s official site on this:
FAQs on probiotics and hunger
Why do I feel hungry after taking probiotics?
It’s not unusual to feel hungry after taking probiotics, especially if you are taking high doses. This is because probiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, and when these bacteria break down the food they release gas (carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane).
This gas could sometimes cause bloating and a sense of fullness, which can lead to feelings of hunger.
Another possibility is that you’re not getting enough fiber.
Fiber helps keep you feeling full by slowing down the digestion process and delaying the emptying of the stomach.
Without sufficient fiber, we’re more likely to feel hungry again soon after eating.
Do probiotics increase or affect appetite?
Probiotics do increase or affect appetite because they release appetite-regulating hormones. And increased levels of these hormones burn calories. Probiotics have also been shown to modulate the expression of genes related to obesity and adipogenesis.
Furthermore, some probiotic strains enhance energy expenditure and induce weight loss in animal models.
In other words, probiotics can help you lose weight by helping you feel fuller after eating, preventing calorie-rich foods from being stored as fat, and increasing the number of calories burned.
What happens to your body when you start taking probiotics?
Probiotics populate the gut with good bacteria, which help crowd out bad bacteria and keep your intestinal tract functioning properly.
Probiotics have also been shown to improve nutrient absorption, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Plus, they’re great for keeping your bowel movements regular. All in all, probiotics are a great way to keep your body healthy and functioning optimally.
First-time probiotic users may experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
When the gut microbiota changes, bacteria can produce more gas than usual, resulting in bloating. The good thing – at the end of the day is – after a few days or weeks, these effects usually disappear.
How do you know if probiotics are working?
There are a few different ways to tell if probiotics are having an effect on your body. One way is to look at your stool. If you’re taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, you may notice that your stool becomes more regular and lessens gastrointestinal distress.
Another way to tell if probiotics are working is by looking at your skin.
Probiotics can help with skin conditions like acne and eczema by reducing inflammation.
You may also notice that you get sick less often when you’re taking probiotics regularly, as they help bolster the immune system.
Bloating and gas can be major sources of discomfort, but you may notice that these issues start to improve within a few days of taking probiotics.
You may also find that probiotics help reduce bloating and gas. This is because Probiotics aid in digestion and help break down food more effectively so that your body can absorb more nutrients.
Finally, some people simply feel better overall when they take probiotics regularly – they have more energy and just feel healthier overall.
Can probiotics make you gain weight?
No! In fact, they could have the opposite effect as they improve your gut health and digestion which could lead to weight loss.
However, as with everything, if you overdo it (i.e. eat/take too much of something), then of course you’ll gain weight from that just like you would if you overindulged in anything else edible.
What is Probiotics’ Effect On Added Sugars?
Aside from the possibility that the bacterial strains in your probiotic drink might promote weight increase, some products also contain added sugars.
These unhealthy sugars can make the drinks tasty but they can also contribute to weight gain. Added sugars might even increase the risks of obesity.
The good news is that not all probiotic drinks have added sugars. You can find my recommendations below.
Can probiotics help with overeating?
There’s no question that probiotics can be an immense aid for relieving digestive distress, caused by overeating and overdrinking.
But does that mean they can help prevent overeating in the first place?
As we mentioned earlier, a review proved that probiotics may indeed help to regulate appetite and curb overeating. Which could help reduce their food intake, particularly unhealthy foods high in fat and sugar.
My Final Thoughts on Probiotics & Hunger Feeling
Some probiotics may increase appetite due to the release of GLP-1. This hormone is released by the gut and has been shown to increase appetite in both humans and animals. However, there are many different types of probiotics, so not all will have this effect.
If you are looking for a probiotic that will help with weight loss or appetite control, look for one that contains Lactobacillus gasseri or Bifidobacterium longum.
These strains have been shown to be more effective at increasing GLP-1 levels and reducing appetite.
We hope this article has helped to clear up any confusion you may have had about probiotics and appetite.
Never forget that a healthy diet and lifestyle are still the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Probiotics can be a great addition to help with weight management, but they should not be relied on as the sole method.
As always, speak to your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or supplement routine.