Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can probiotics help me lose weight?"


Hi. I have heard this is possible. Is this true?


Probiotics is a term used to describe living bacteria that are taken as a dietary supplement. The reason that people take them is variable, but most of the time they are taken in attempts to improve digestion, and improve bowel consistency and timing, or as an alternative treatment of diarrhea. Probiotics can be found in some dietary supplements as well as fermented milk products such as yogurt.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

The theory behind their use stems from the fact that we have natural bacteria that live in the colon that assist in breaking down nutrients that we can't break down. We also know that killing off these bacteria can cause problems with our bowels. Thus, in theory, adding replacement bacteria to the GI track can enhance some of these positive effects. With regards to your question specifically, probiotics will not help you lose weight. With that said, some of the foods such as yogurt that contain probiotics may be a part of a good weight loss plan. The bacteria themselves won't help. This is because probiotics do not help you consume less calories, or burn more calories, which are both essential to weight loss. You should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss whether there are any symptoms you are having that may be helped by probiotics. In addition, the two of you can discuss a weight loss plan, if needed. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.