The findings, made by scientists based at the Vestfold Hospital Trust in Tønsberg, involved 15 previous studies on probiotics and weight loss.
It used data from 957 obese adults, who saw benefits in reducing their body weight after taking the supplements for between three and 12 weeks.
As well as the benefits on body weight, the researchers noted a small effect on BMI – a measure of body fat using weight and height.
Published in the journal Obesity Reviews, they discovered that a three-week course of probiotics can lead to a 0.27kg/m² loss in BMI.
And a slight difference on fat percentage was also noted, according to the team of scientists, led by Dr Heidi Borgeraas.
They found a 0.6 per cent reduction in fat percentage for those who had took the probiotics compared to a placebo.
PROBIOTICS BOOST YOUR FLU JAB…
Taking probiotic supplements when you get home from having your flu jab could make it work better, research suggested earlier this month.
Scientists claim the yoghurt drinks offer a cheap boost, as the dreaded Aussie flu begins its journey in time for Britain’s winter.
University of Melbourne researchers reviewed 26 trials of people who consumed probiotics after getting various jabs to make the finding.
It follows warnings of an aggressive strain of the flu virus that is expected to cause havoc in the UK this winter, after blighting Australia and New Zealand.
Writing in the journal, they said: ‘Our meta-analysis showed that short-term probiotic supplementation reduced body weight, BMI, and fat percentage.’
However, they added the effects were ‘small’ and that more research is desperately needed to confirm the initial findings.
Probiotics, which work on the premise of replacing the ‘bad’ with ‘good’ bacteria, have been heavily scrutinised in recent years.
Studies have backed up the notion they are ‘perishable’ bacteria. Heat and stomach acid can kill them, rendering them ineffective before they’ve even been digested.
Despite the concerns by microbiologists, the global probiotics market looks set to exceed $63 billion (£47bn) in the next five years.
Diets high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods wreak havoc on the microbiome, and wipe out beneficial bacteria.
Without the friendly bugs, certain bacteria, such as Firmicutes, extract more calories from foods we do eat – which leads to weight gain.
Research has linked our gut health to a range of conditions including depression, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.