More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, which accounts for about 1 out of every 10 people. Approximately 90-95% of them have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that effects the way the body processes blood sugar…or glucose. The cells don’t normally respond to insulin well, which is called insulin resistance. Many people have tried weight loss diets but even if they do work, it is challenging to maintain that healthy weight. Now there are natural weight loss options that may help.
The cornerstone of prevention and treatment of diabetes is diet and exercise. Eating primarily a plant-based diet, healthy protein and fats and limiting carbohydrates and sugars are key. Also regular exercise, including weight resistance helps bring glucose into the muscle and increases our metabolism.
Your gut bacteria also play a role in your digestion, fat storage and hunger, all of which can have major impacts on your weight. The gut microbiome has an impact on nutrient metabolism and energy expenditure. The different modalities of obesity treatment have been shown to change the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. Many studies have shown that supplementation with probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics may alter the secretion of hormones, neurotransmitters, and inflammatory factors, thus preventing food intake triggers that lead to weight gain.
Two new strains of gut bacteria can reduce cravings, increase energy levels, improve sleep, and help with weight loss and optimizing metabolism.
The first product called UltraFlora Control by Metagenics has the gut bacteria strain Bifidobacterium lactose B-420, which may not mean a lot to you but it will, if your goal is weight loss and lowering your HgbA1C, or blood sugars. It is also very healing for the gut and increases the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) which help enhance epithelial barrier function which is essential for a healthy microbiome.
The other bacteria (which is the most abundant bacteria in our microbiome) is pasteurized Akkermansia. We lose Akkermansia as we age and it helps prevent “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability while improving HgbA1C levels.
Both strains of the bacteria I mentioned up-regulate GLP-1 for satiety signaling which helps with insulin sensitivity and weight loss. There are few side effects with these strains and they can be taken long-term with continued benefits.
GLP-1 may sound familiar to you because it is well advertised on TV commercials for weight loss and reducing diabetes. These are drugs such as Semaglutide, Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Trulicity to name a few. They are effective for many people but also have their side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite and abdominal pain. These drugs delay gastric emptying which decreases appetite… but what happens when you finally stop the drugs? Cravings and appetite easily come back and weight gain begins again. In addition to losing fat on these drugs, studies have shown that muscle mass is also lost. Strength training should be a part of your exercise routine especially if you are on these meds.
I encourage behavior changes first when losing weight. Good sleep, lowering stress, exercise (aerobic and weight resistance) identifying food allergies and taking care of your gut are all natural ways to lose weight and more importantly to keep it off.
Reference: Antoine, A, et al. The Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Obesity in Adults and the role of probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics for Weight Loss. NIH: National Library of Medicine. June 30 2020.