Gut flora is linked to obesity.
"Previous research has suggested that bacteria can influence how well
energy is absorbed from food, but these [new] findings demonstrate that
intestinal bacteria can actually influence appetite," Gewirtz
"The size of your gut may be partly shaped by which microbes call it
home, according to new research linking obesity to types of digestive
Both obese mice - and people - had more of one type of bacteria and
less of another kind, according to two studies published Thursday in
the journal Nature.
A "microbial component" appears to contribute to obesity
, said study
lead author Jeffrey Gordon, director of Washington University's Center
for Genome Sciences.
Probiotic bacteria may help in weight loss: study
Obese humans and mice had a lower percentage of a family of bacteria
called Bacteroidetes and more of a type of bacteria called Firmicutes,
Gordon and his colleagues found.
When that happens, the study found, it triggers an inflammatory state,
as the body attempts to respond to the increasing population of bugs,
and at the same time makes cells less sensitive to insulin. In a way,
inflammatory factors and insulin compete for the attention of the same
intestinal cells; if the cells are busy responding to inflammatory
factors, then they are less likely to take up glucose and process it
effectively. Such a desensitization to insulin and glucose then leads
to the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, such as weight gain, high
cholesterol and triglyceride levels and elevated blood pressure...
How Bacteria Can Help You Lose Weight
How the Bacteria in Your Gut Affect Your Body Weight - And How to Get
the Balance Right
- These findings are both reassuring and scary: it may
shed light on why dieting doesn't automatically result in weight loss,
but now you might be seriously concerned (and rightfully so) that a
past or future viral infection could lead to uncontrollable weight
gain. Clearly having healthy bacteria in your gut is crucial.