Probiotic, synbiotic supplement offers little in terms of body weight control
Oral supplementation with probiotics or synbiotics leads to a reduction in waist circumference of overweight or obese adults, although the effect size is small and may be clinically insignificant, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Researchers searched multiple online databases for studies evaluating the effects of probiotic or synbiotic supplementation (vs any other intervention) on body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in adults with BMI ≥25 kg/m2. None of the studies involved bariatric surgery or faecal transplantation.
The meta-analysis included 19 randomized controlled trials involving 1,412 participants. Risk of bias was assessed, and the quality of evidence was evaluated using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system.
Pooled data showed that compared with control interventions, supplementation produced no significant changes in mean body weight (mean difference [MD], −0.54 kg; 95 percent CI, −1.09 to 0.01; I2, 0 percent; moderate quality of evidence) or mean BMI (MD, −0.19 kg/m2; −0.43 to 0.04; I2, 51 percent; low quality of evidence).
There was, however, a marked reduction in mean waist circumference observed in the probiotics/synbiotics vs the control group (MD, −0.82 cm; −1.43 to −0.21; I2, 46 percent; low quality of evidence).
Researchers pointed out that while oral supplementation with probiotics or synbiotics exerts a small effect on waist circumference of overweight or obese adults, confidence in the effect is moderate. This indicates a possibility that the effect, in practice, is substantially different.
Large-scale and long-term studies are warranted to determine the effects, their magnitude, and the clinical significance of probiotic or synbiotic supplementation in overweight or obese adults, they added.