There is a global health epidemic of obesity related health problems. Scientists have recently discovered that those with diabetes and obesity have completely different gut bacteria than those who do not have these health conditions.
Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Centers and at Harvard Medical School have found that strains of mice prone to obesity, stopped gaining weight simply by sharing living space with normal weight mice and more importantly, their gut microbes changed. These scientists have begun to identify the bacterial strains that play a part in this remarkable change in the ability to develop (or not develop) diabetes and obesity.
Genetics also plays a role and the researchers are using DNA sequencing to try and find out which bacterial strains are connected to which disorders and if there is a genetic “susceptibility” allowing certain strains to thrive which in turn might allow for say, weight gain. So, these investigators are in the early phases of pinpointing certain strains that correlate very strongly with conditions such as obesity and high blood glucose levels, suggesting that these strains help to cause those conditions.
As usual, more research is needed but in the words of lead scientist Dr Kahn: “Our hope is that if we can identify causal bacteria in these animal models, then we can look in humans for bacteria that serve the same kinds of function,” … “The goal ultimately would be to get a cocktail of purified microbes that is optimized for treatment of humans with obesity or diabetes–kind of a designer probiotic.”
ScienceDaily: Genetic factors drive roles of gut bacteria in diabetes, obesity: Study examines how bacterial, mammalian genomics interact to boost insulin resistance, other metabolic disorders.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2015.
- Siegfried Ussar, Nicholas W. Griffin, Olivier Bezy, Shiho Fujisaka, Sara Vienberg, Samir Softic, Luxue Deng, Lynn Bry, Jeffrey I. Gordon, C. Ronald Kahn. Interactions between Gut Microbiota, Host Genetics and Diet Modulate the Predisposition to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Cell Metabolism, 2015; 22 (3): 516 DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.007
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