Change in Gut Microbes Can Affect Weight
Dreaming of slimming becoming slimmer?
The evidence just keeps mounting that microbes in our digestive systems can contribute to the obesity epidemic.
European researchers recently reported that obese people have less diverse microbes in their guts than do lean people. The findings also show that people with less diverse communities of gut microbes are more likely to be at risk for health problems associated with being overweight, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
U.S. researchers have reported the results in a paper in the journal Science of some intriguing experiments involving mice some with new gut microbes transplanted from obese twins, and others with those from lean twins so as to eliminate any genetic variation that could influence the results.
Jeffrey Gordon, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his colleagues transplanted bacteria from the guts of four pairs of human twins, one of which was obese and the other, lean, into the guts of lab mice who did not have any of their own microbes.
The mice that received microbes from the obese twins gained more weight and accumulated more fat than those who received microbes from the lean twin, even when the mice ate identical diets. Next, the scientists allowed the animals to live together. Since eating each other's feces is a common habit among mice, they were soon exposed to each other's gut microbes. After 10 days, the researchers found that the mice with the obese microbes adopted the lean microbes and started to look healthier.
Finally, the researchers showed that the animals were unable to be colonized by the lean microbes when they were fed diets simulating a typical unhealthy Western diet, high in simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, but low in fiber.