Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bacteria in your gut making you fat?

Battling bacteria in gut may influence weight gain Reuters via Yahoo!News 12/20/06 "Body weight and obesity could be affected not only by what we eat but also by how it is digested in the gut...two types of good microbes or bacteria in the gut that help to break down foods are different in obese and lean people and mice..."Our gut microbial structure should be considered when understanding the elements that might regulate our energy balance and may predispose us to obesity," Jeffrey Gordon, of the Washington University of Medicine ...There are trillions of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, but two groups called the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes are the most dominant and their proportion varies in lean and obese mice and humans...proportion of Bacteroidetes bacteria is lower in obese mice and people than in lean people...when Gordon and his team studied 12 obese people who followed low-calorie diets for a year, they found their levels of Bacteroidetes rose as their weight decreased. ...scientists do not yet know if people start out with lower levels of Bacteroidetes or Firmicutes, which may make them prone to obesity..."

It's apparent that we have only a basic understanding of what causes obesity. And it will be interesting to see if further studies show that merely by increasing bacteroidetes there can be weight loss. Let's hope it can be that simple.

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