You may have heard your doctor describe a health problem as multifactorial, meaning there’s more than a single issue that contributes to a condition.

For example, poor diet habits and low physical activity are two issues strongly linked to obesity. Now, you can add gut health to the list, according to a trio of recent studies.

Too many antibiotics harm your gut inside and outside

Does your gut health affect obesity? Yes!If you follow this space regularly, you’re well aware of the problems antibiotics present, especially when you rely on them too often. Exposing your body to multiple rounds of antibiotics may create an imbalance that eliminates the bad and good bacteria in your gut and leaves you susceptible to more health problems.

A Spanish study published in the journal Gut Microbes concluded the composition of gut bacteria, altered by the long-term use of antibiotics, may spur weight gains.

The continued use of antibiotics modifies the gut microbiota by increasing the activity of enzymes that lead to the faster and more imbalanced absorption of carbohydrates that may contribute to a host of food-related disorders including obesity and diabetes, according to the study.

These findings could lead to more research that targets solutions, including specialized diets and probiotic and prebiotic treatments taken along with antibiotics that protect the composition and diversity of a patient’s gut bacteria, according to Gut Microbiota Worldwatch.

Diverse bacteria in your gut may prevent obesity

As shown in previous studies, multi-species probiotics like EndoMune provide patients a more diverse variety of good gut bacteria in higher amounts that are highly effective in treating a host of health problems. That extra richness in gut bacteria may also provide protection from obesity, according to the findings in a recent Nature study.

After comparing the gut health of 169 obese Danish patients to 123 lean patients over nine years, French researchers concluded thinner folks had improved microbial diversity in their guts than did the obese participants. Leaner patients had 40 percent more gut bacteria, too.

The news wasn’t so good for patients with less microbial diversity, however. Those patients, no matter what how much they weighed, displayed more risk factors for serious diseases (cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease).

More to the point, a smaller study also appearing in Nature found the gut health of obese or overweight patients became richer after following a diet for just six weeks.

The good news about these studies: Improving your health inside and outside can be as simple as following a better diet regimen.

Probiotics may help women lose weight

Considering the effect an improved diet can have on gut health by itself, you’d assume taking a probiotic would be even more beneficial. But, you’d be partially correct, depending on your gender.

A Canadian research team monitoring the health of 125 overweight men and women were assigned to a 12-week diet, and half of the patients were prescribed a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus (also contained in EndoMune), during that time.

At the end of the three-month study period, women in the probiotic group enjoyed the most success, losing nearly 10 pounds, compared to the placebo group who lost almost 6 pounds. Also, after a 12-week maintenance period, women who took a probiotic continued to lose weight while the non-probiotic women leveled off. What’s more, women in the probiotic group experienced a noticeable drop in the appetite hormone leptin.

Surprisingly, neither group of males lost much weight. “We don’t know why the probiotics didn’t have any effect on men,” says Professor Angelo Tremblay, who headed the study. “It may have been a question of dosage, or the study period may have been too short.”

One difference that may explain partly why overweight Canadian men didn’t lose much weight: The probiotic contained a single strain of beneficial bacteria versus a proven, multi-species product like EndoMune.