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Changes in Gut Bacteria May be Linked to Obesity

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

Changes in Gut Bacteria May be Linked to Obesity

There's been a lot of talk about gut health and weight loss. Researchers speculate that changes in gut bacteria might indeed be linked to changes in body weight. Several different studies have shown that obese individuals not only have a reduced number of bacteria in their gut but also harbor the types of gut bacteria that are otherwise not present in normal weight individuals. This is something scientists call ‘dysbiosis’ and believe it is one of the possible causes of weight gain. This leaves patients in search of gut bacteria obesity treatment, to help rebuild the gut microbiota.

In addition to bacteria, the gut is home to different types of fungi. While the link of gut bacteria to obesity is being extensively studied, scientists know little about the effects of gut fungi on body weight.

In one study, a group of Spanish researchers studied the link between gut fungi and obesity. Interestingly, they found that there exists a huge difference between the types of fungi in obese and normal weight individuals. Moreover, they found that the types of fungi in obese individuals also made them prone to have higher blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Finally, they discovered that the levels of fungi, otherwise found in non-obese individuals, started to increase in obese individuals too as they lost weight.

This research is important because of two main reasons. First, there is a lot about obesity and body weight that we still do not completely understand. The results from this research may add to our overall understanding of the reasons for and causes of obesity, thus linking gut health and weight loss.

Second, obesity represents a serious health concern. According to the U.S Department of Health, every 2 in 3 individuals are obese. The major concern about obesity is the spectrum of diseases linked to it. It increases the risk of complications like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and so on. Unfortunately, the current treatment options have failed to produce expected results. This research may lead to the development of novel methods for fighting obesity.

References

Mar Rodríguez, Daniel Pérez, Felipe Javier Chaves, et al. Obesity changes the human gut mycobiome. Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14600 (2015)

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14600

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