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For those who spend sleepless nights due to their obesity problem, a new study says that the microorganisms in the human gut may play a pivotal role in wading off fats.
These microorganisms may play a significant role in determining whether a person is lean or obese, researchers say.
The study says, what’s inside an individual’s digestive tract influences the risk of obesity and its related health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. The study may also help experts figure out why obesity has roughly tripled in the last 30 years in the U.S., and why that pattern is happening even more swiftly in developing countries.
The findings of the study demonstrate the transmission of the physical and metabolic traits via gut microbes and represent an important step towards developing anti-obesity treatment with bacteria.
“Many factors contribute to obesity,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon, director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. For people whose gut organisms are not equipped to fight obesity, it may be possible to “add microbes to fill the vacancies” needed to keep a person lean and healthy, he said.
US researchers carried study on four human twin pairs – two obese and two lean – and transferred the gut microbiota from each of them into the guts of germ-free mice that had been raised under sterile conditions.
They found that the recipients of the obese twins’ microbiota gained more fat than the recipients of the lean twins’ microbiota when the mice were fed a standard diet.
“This wasn’t attributed to the differences in the amount of food they consumed, so there was something in the microbiota that transmitted this trait. Our question became: What were the components responsible,” said Jeffrey Gordon, director for the Centre of Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University.
Analysis of the bacteria showed that bacteroidetes phylum could pass from the lean mice and colonize the obese mice, suggesting that these were largely responsible for protection against weight gain.
The study was published in journal Science.