Tags: weight | gain | gut | bacteria

Study: Gut Bacteria Affect Weight Gain

Friday, 31 August 2012 12:59 PM

Diets that restrict how and what you eat to help you shed pounds may soon be replaced by vaccines and antibiotics that change the bacteria in your gut to promote weight loss, according to provocative new research by University of Chicago researchers.
The study, published in the journal Nature Immunology, found manipulating the bacterial colonies that live in the gastrointestinal tract helps to manage weight. In examining the relationship between the immune system, gut bacteria, digestion and obesity, the research team determined weight gain requires not just caloric overload but also a delicate and adjustable interaction between intestinal microbes and the immune system’s response.
"Our results suggest that it may be possible to learn how to regulate these microbes in ways that could help prevent diseases associated with obesity," said lead researcher Vaibhav Upadhyay. "We now think we could inhibit the negative side effects of obesity by regulating the microbiota and perhaps manipulating the immune response."
The research team noted bacteria in the intestine play a crucial role in digestion, by providing enzymes that allow the body to absorb nutrients, synthesize vitamins and derive energy from food. Farmers routinely tweak the microbial mix in their livestock with antibiotics to boost weight gain. Recent research has also shown mice raised in a germ-free environment do not put on extra weight, even when fed high-fat diets.
To measure the effects of microbes and immunity, the researchers conducted laboratory studies of mice with a genetic defect that affects their gut bacteria. Researchers noted such defective mice did not gain extra weight, even after prolonged consumption of a high-fat diet, largely because of differences in the microbes in their GI systems, compared to normal mice.
Although the new study involved mice, researchers said the findings have significant implications for humans, too. They cautioned, however, that with more than 500 different strains of bacteria present in the human gut, "the precise microbes that promote such weight gain and the specific host responses that foster their growth need to be better established."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

© HealthDay

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Dieting may soon be replaced by meds that change the bacteria in your gut to promote weight loss.
Friday, 31 August 2012 12:59 PM
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