Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jeanie McHugo


Probiotics; Probiotic supplement; Probiotic therapeutic use; Probiotic agent; Weight loss; Body weight loss; Body mass index; Obesity; Lactobacillus


The purpose of this literature review is to assess current studies investigating the efficacy of using probiotic supplementation to promote weight loss in the overweight and obese adult populations. Three databases were used including PubMed, ClinicalKey, and Embase with a time frame of 15 years. A total of 17 studies met the research criteria and were therefore reviewed. Body weight loss and decrease in BMI were used as measurements of efficacy. Studies used were peer reviewed, randomized-control trials, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. Current research shows insufficient evidence to support the use of a specific genus and/or species of probiotic to promote weight loss in the overweight and obese adult populations. L. gasseri, L. acidophilus, L. curvatus in combination with L. plantarum, and several genus combinations have studies supporting their use for weight loss. Additionally, studies evaluating L. amylovorus and L. rhamnosus showed significant weight loss with supplementation; however, their results were gender specific. Significant decrease in BMI was exhibited in groups supplemented with L. amylovorus, L. gasseri, L. plantarum, L. curvatus with plantarum, and several genus combinations when compared to placebo groups. Several studies found that benefits ceased after the probiotic supplementation was discontinued, suggesting that ongoing supplementation may be required. Finally, the side effects associated with probiotic supplementation were minimal, regardless of the strain, gender, or duration. This may suggest that potential benefits could outweigh risks.