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What is about to get everyone’s attention is that it appears probiotics have a say in obesity, and how easy or difficult it is for people to lose weight.

One of the most exciting areas of new product development for me today is the field of probiotics. We have already learned a lot, but in some ways we are still just scratching the surface in our understanding. One thing is abundantly clear however, we are in a symbiotic relationship with the beneficial flora in our gut, and they provide critical and essential functions related to our health.

Our intestinal flora is responsible for synthesizing certain vitamins, producing natural antibacterial compounds such as H2O2 that kill harmful bacteria or yeast, and maintenance of the proper pH. The good bacteria also contribute to neurotransmitter function, hormone production, and many other organ systems. For this reason they can help with reducing stress, improve irritable bowel disease, and boost immune function.

What is especially intriguing, though, is that the good bacteria can alter gene expression related to obesity. The initial studies show the hormone leptin, critical for fat metabolism, can be influenced by beneficial bacteria. In addition, certain strains seem to be more capable of increasing weight loss efforts compared to others. Lastly, the data shows that utilizing multiple beneficial strains is better than single strains alone.

While simply using probiotics alone may not be enough to completely overcome certain diseases such as obesity, it is clear they are helpful, and will be a crucial part of future health and wellness strategies, including weight loss programs.

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