Probiotics and Weight Loss

Probiotics and Weight Loss: How Digestive Baceria Can Actually Help People Lose Weight
By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

When supplement marketers attempt to explain to the public the value of probiotics, the discussion typically centers around the fact that probiotics can help to establish a regular pattern of bowel movements, helping to relieve diarrhea, curb constipation and establish a happy medium that constitutes something of a middle-ground – that point when bowel movements occur neither too frequently nor too infrequently, with the consistency being neither too hard nor too soft, minimizing the amount of discomfort one experiences in using the facilities.

Another benefit of probiotics, the good bacterial flora long associated with natural, unprocessed yogurt, with which the public is well familiar is the strengthened immune system that typically accompanies a healthy gut. However, a less noted side-effect of one’s digestive system functioning at peak performance is that a healthy gut can actually help one lose weight and keep off the pounds.

Antibiotics wipe out the good bacterial flora in the gut (intestinal tract) which slows down the metabolism, resulting in fewer calories burned relative to the amount of calories ingested. This results in unnatural weight gain.

In addition, the animals are fed estrogen supplements, which causes them to develop a condition known as estrogen dominance, which also brings about a hefty degree of unnatural weight gain. Hence, hormone balance is essential for weight loss, as is metabolic efficiency.

With regard to the latter, there is actually a quite simple solution for humans who have either been on antibiotics, ingested them indirectly via other food sources (such as beef) or for whatever other reason have an imbalance of intestinal flora inside the digestive tract. High-quality probiotics can actually help to restore the balance of what are often referred to as “good bacteria”. This helps aide digestion, which when combined with routine exercise and at least a somewhat healthy diet results in an enhanced rate-of-metabolism.

This enhanced metabolism typically helps bring about weight loss in overweight individuals provided the average amount of caloric intake were to remain constant from the time period prior to the balancing of intestinal flora to the point at which optimal bacterial flora levels are reached.

The math is really pretty simple: Calories, excess amounts of which are stored as fat, are ingested as food and calorie-containing beverages. Calories also power the human body (as well as all other animal life). The amount of calories stored as fat depends upon a couple of factors: 1) The amount of calories ingested; 2) The rate at which the calories are being burned as fuel; and 3) The amount of time unburned calories remain inside the body prior to being expelled in the form of waste (feces). By reducing the amount of time calories remain in the body from the time they are consumed to the time they are expelled, there is less time for them to be absorbed and stored in the form of fat.

The bottom line is that while probiotics are far from a miracle dietary supplement that will make you lose weight just by taking a little capsule, in conjunction with exercise, diet and hormonal balance, these healthy, all-natural bacteria can indeed help accelerate weight loss by regularing the digestive system, preventing constipation and helping one expel waste in a timely manner relative to the time-of-consumption.

The result is this: probiotics are not magic weight loss solution, but when implemented as part of a complete weight loss regimen that addresses all aspects of the metabolic cycle (caloric intake, rate-of-metabolism, hormonal balance and proper digestive function), can indeed help an overweight individual with poor digestive health lose weight and keep it off.

Related: Health Benefits of Probiotics

Hormones, Menopause and Weight Gain in Women

Natural Hormones and their Impact on Women’s Health, Weight

 

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

When attempting to explain the role of hormones relative to weight gain in women, the non-organic beef industry makes for a great analogy.

Commercial cattle farmers figured out how to chemically and hormonally induce weight gain many, many years ago. But what exactly is it that is done to the cows in order to get them to gain so much weight, thus increasing their value? The anwer is really quite simple. The cows are fed a potent combination of antibiotics and hormones.

BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy)

BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy)

Antibiotics and Hormones?

The antibiotics destroy the cows’ intestinal flora (“good bacteria”), disrupting and slowing the rate of digestion. This means that the animals are burning fewer calories in a given period of time than they would if their digestive systems were operating at full capacity. The result of this, barring a decrease in food intake, is that the cows gain weight as a result of the fact that their metabolism is being deliberately slowed down as a result of the antibiotics. For more information about how this works, see this post about probiotics and weight loss.

The role of hormones as it pertains to weight and in particular, weight gain, is by-and-large not well understood by the very women gaining weight as a direct result of hormonal imbalance. In order to learn how each individual hormone works, the respective properties of each hormone and their individual effect on women’s health – particularly as it relates to weight gain, please see the following primer:

Estradiol

Estradiol is our major estrogen that keeps the skin beautiful, keeps our memory sharp, vaginal moisture, hair, skin, nail, bone health and it should be noted that there are estradiol receptors on every organ in our body from our brain, heart, lungs, bladder, etc.

Estriol

Estriol is our weaker estrogen that goes up during pregnancy. This hormone builds collagen and is used in Europe to prevent breast cancer and keep the skin beautiful. (For a provider to prescribe Estriol in the US, they must be registered with the FDA.)

Estrone

Estrone is the bad estrogen that goes up during peri-menopause and menopause. This is the estrogen that wreaks havoc on the body. It causes fibrocystic breast, breast cancer, weight gain, ovarian cyst, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, etc. I make sure to check an estrone level during blood lab work. If it is too high, there are things we do to knock it back down such as aerobic exercise, DIM, and Indole-3 carbinol. Furthermore, women should never take estrogen by mouth over the age of 45. When taken orally, it has to be metabolized by the liver which increases the risk of blood clots and methylates over to estrone. When restoring hormones, estradiol and estriol should only be given topically or transdermally. It should also be noted that not all breast cancer is caused from hormones. Many toxins can cause breast cancer such as pesticides, plastics, radiation, etc.

Natural Progesterone

Natural Progesterone that the body makes during ovulation is a good hormone. It is an anti-depressant, sleeping pill, anti-anxiety, builds bone, stops the proliferation of cancer cells hence helps prevent breast cancer. It helps to keep estrogen in check which helps with weight loss and all those things that bad estrogen can cause. Again, Progestin is NOT Progesterone. Progestins that are found in birth control pills, PremPro, and other synthetic hormones make women fat, makes them psychotic, and cause breast cancer.

Testosterone

Testosterone, which is not FDA approved for women, is also important because it builds bones thereby preventing osteoporosis. It also helps build muscle, increase stamina, help memory, increase libido. A small amount of testosterone after menopause is essential in maintaining young, healthy cells and aiding in weight loss.

Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone, sometimes abbreviated simply as HGH, is considered the fountain of youth. It also helps with weight loss, building muscle, bone, etc. Amino Acids can be taken to help stimulate the pituitary to release growth hormone.

Dr. Pamela Egan – DNP, CDE
EGAN Wellness & Anti-Aging Clinic and EGAN Skin Care & Med Spa
1116 W. 21st Ave.
Covington, LA 70433
(985) 892-3031 – Office Phone
(985) 892-9504 – Fax
www.PamelaEgan.com

Areas Serviced: Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Abita Springs, Slidell, Goodbee, Lacombe, Folsom, Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pearl River, Metairie, New Orleans, Kenner, Chalmette, New Orleans East, Elmwood, Jefferson (all of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, St. James, East Baton Rouge, Washington & Tangipahoa Parishes).

More BHRT Related Articles:

Causes of Female Weight Gain – Part 2: The Role of Hormones

The Role of Hormones in Female Weight Gain

This post is part two of a series of articles about why women gain weight as they age.

Part One: Top Causes of Female Weight Gain

Part Two: The Role of Hormones

Cortisol is a hormone that increases with stress. Cortisol is also a fat storing hormone, so it is no wonder that too much stress/ cortisol can make you fat.

Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain you’ve had enough to eat and also knocks out food cravings. Most women who are overweight are Leptin Resistant. In fact, childhood obesity has been linked to Leptin Resistance. Again, exercise, diet and supplements that contain Irvingia help to reverse Leptin resistance.

Hormones are a very complex issue and I consider myself an expert on this topic since I was hormonally imbalanced for 15 years and was forced to find the answers myself when I could not get help from conventional medicine. At the age of 35, after my fourth child, I weighed 103 pounds. My OB/GYN convinced me to have a bilateral tubal ligation. I literally gained 30 pounds within 3 months and 60 pounds within 6 months. I was aging prematurely, I looked like I was 60 years old, had aches and pains, was depressed cause I was gaining all of this weight, couldn’t sleep at night, had no sex drive, developed hypothryoidism which can also be caused from a hormone imbalance.

I went back to my physician begging for a hormone check and to 4 or 5 other physicians, but was told there was no good way to check hormones and there was no correlation to the tubal ligation. I was getting older and just needed to eat less and exercise more. I was an RN at the time and had not changed my eating or exercise habits but was literally blowing up like a “spaded dog”.

If you will google “Tubal Ligation Syndrome” you will now find that in a high percentage of women, their ovaries fail which leads to estrogen dominance which leads to weight gain, fibrocystic breast, ovarian cyst, fibroids, etc. which ultimately leads to a hysterectomy. In fact, by the age of 49, I had all of these things which required a complete hysterectomy. I was then handed a box of Premarin which I did not take but knew I had to get some answers to this hormone traversty. After taking some courses with “Pharmacy Compounding Centers of America”, I was led to and completed a Fellowship with the American Academy of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine. This Fellowship literally saved my life. I actually look younger at the age of 55 then I did at 35 and have lost all the weight that I had gained back then.

Hormones have gotten a bad rap by the media since the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was completed in 2002. The WHI was done on synthetic hormones Premarin (horse urine) and Prempro (horse urine and progestin-synthetic progesterone) Many physicians in America still think that these chemicals are hormones. They are not!

In actuality, it is hormones that keep women young. Just look at the commercials on TV right now regarding low testosterone levels in men. When hormones are perfectly balanced, it is much easier to lose weight and keep the cells young and healthy. So the men are going to be on the “anti-aging train” while the women are aging prematurely. How fair is that??

Top Causes of Female Weight Gain – Part 1

Female Weight Gain: Why Women Gain Weight as They Age

Nurse Practitioner Pamela Egan discusses the top reasons women tend to see their weight increase along with age.

Dear Pam, What Are the Top Reasons Women Gain Weight as We Age?

Weight gain as women age is a multi-factorial process. As women age, we develop several metabolic imbalances such as a slow metabolism, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, hormone imbalances, thyroid disease, etc. For example, several factors influence our metabolism such as exercise both aerobic and weight bearing. Many women develop sedentary habits which leads to muscle loss hence a slowed metabolism.

Most women have to cut way down on carbohydrate and sugar intake as they approach peri-menopause and menopause. I explain to my patients to look at it like its an allergy. They have become allergic to carbs and sugars. If they keep eating these foods, they will need more and more insulin to push the glucose into the muscle. Insulin is a fat storing hormone, so the higher the insulin level the more fat will be stored. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I offer several low carb diets that help to reverse insulin resistance in my clinic. (Ideal Protein & Prescript Fit).

Many women go through life iron deficient. We routinely check ferritin levels which optimally should be 60 – 100. When a woman is low in iron she craves pica. In the old days iron deficient women would eat mud and starch that you starch your clothes with. Today, we are surrounded by carbohydrates. So we grab bread or a cookie. Once iron levels are restored to normal levels, women very often find that those cravings go away.

Food allergies are also huge factor in female weight gain. Many women have wheat allergies or celiac disease and don’t know it. Once recognized, and those offending foods avoided, the excess weight melts off.

Gut health is also an important factor that can affect weight gain or loss. Balancing the gut and restoring good bacterial flora naturally increases metabolism and help eliminate toxins. One way to help go about this is to take a high-quality probiotics supplement.

If a woman is balanced hormonally but is still not losing weight, a GI Detox followed by a Liver Detox is recommended.

Inflammation is at the root of all disease and can also be a factor in failure to lose weight. We strive to eliminate inflammation in the body which is why high quality antioxidants are included in our daily Essential Nutrition Pack.