Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Aug;67(5):571-80. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156. Epub 2016 May 5.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of probiotic therapies on body weight and BMI using a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.

Methods: Twenty studies with 25 trials (1931 participants with age over 18 years) were included. The pooled WMD was calculated by random effects model.

Results: Probiotic consumption significantly reduced body weight by 0.59 kg (95% CI, 0.30-0.87) and BMI by 0.49 kg/m(2) (95% CI, 0.24-0.74). A greater reduction in BMI was found with multiple species of probiotics. Subgroup analysis of trials with intervention duration ≥8 weeks found a more significant reduction in BMI. Limiting analysis to trials with a baseline BMI ≥25 kg/m(2) showed a greater reduction in BMI.

Conclusion: Consuming probiotics could reduce body weight and BMI, with a potentially greater effect when multiple species of probiotics were consumed, the duration of intervention was ≥8 weeks, or the objects were overweight.

Keywords: BMI; meta-analysis; obesity; overweight; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity