Probiotics: A Potential Solution for Obese Adolescents?

  • Sadia
  • 2024-04-18

In recent years, obesity has become an increasingly serious problem worldwide, particularly among adolescents. Obesity not only affects appearance but also increases the risk of developing various chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Gut microbiota dysbiosis is considered a major factor in the pathogenesis of obesity. Studies have shown that the gut microbiota structure of obese individuals is significantly different from that of healthy individuals, often characterized by decreased diversity, reduced beneficial bacteria, and increased harmful bacteria.

Probiotics are a type of live bacteria that are beneficial to human health and can improve overall health by regulating gut microbiota balance. In recent years, several studies have suggested that probiotic supplements may have a regulatory effect on lipid metabolism and gut microbiota structure in obese adolescents.

How Do Probiotics Improve Lipid Metabolism?

Probiotics can improve lipid metabolism through various mechanisms, including:

  • Promoting the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs): SCFAs are the main metabolites of the gut microbiota and can serve as an energy source while suppressing fat synthesis and absorption.
  • Inhibiting the activity of lipase enzymes: Lipases are responsible for breaking down dietary fats, and probiotics can inhibit their activity, thereby reducing fat absorption.
  • Lowering blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, and high levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Probiotics can lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels ("good" cholesterol).

How Do Probiotics Regulate Gut Microbiota Structure?

Probiotics can regulate gut microbiota structure in the following ways:

  • Competing for nutrients and living space: Probiotics can compete with harmful bacteria for nutrients and living space, thereby inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Producing antimicrobial substances: Probiotics can produce antimicrobial substances that directly kill or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Stimulating the immune system: Probiotics can stimulate the gut immune system, enhancing its defense against harmful bacteria.

Research Evidence

Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have confirmed the beneficial effects of probiotic supplements on lipid metabolism and gut microbiota structure in obese adolescents. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that after obese adolescents took a probiotic supplement daily for 12 weeks, their body weight, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels all decreased, while HDL cholesterol levels increased. Additionally, the study found that the probiotic supplement could increase beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiota, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and reduce the number of harmful bacteria.


Probiotic supplements may be an effective strategy for treating obesity in adolescents. Probiotics can help reduce weight and improve overall health by improving lipid metabolism and regulating gut microbiota structure. However, current research on the efficacy and safety of probiotic supplements is still limited, and more research is needed to determine the best probiotic strains, dosages, and durations.

Please note: It is recommended to consult with a doctor or registered dietitian before taking any probiotic supplements.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the benefits discussed above, probiotics may also have other beneficial effects for obese adolescents, such as:

  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Probiotics may improve insulin sensitivity, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Reducing inflammation: Probiotics may reduce inflammation, which is a contributing factor to obesity and other chronic diseases.
  • Boosting mood: Probiotics may boost mood by reducing stress and anxiety.

Overall, probiotics are a promising natural treatment for obesity in adolescents. More research is needed, but the current evidence suggests that probiotics may be a safe and effective way to improve weight, lipid metabolism, gut health, and overall well-being in obese adolescents.

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