Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk

Date:
April 23, 2012
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Summary:
The international obesity epidemic is widespread, nondiscriminatory, and deadly. But do we really understand all of the factors underlying this alarming trend? Excessive calorie intake and plummeting levels of physical activity are largely to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines. But there are other factors. Intestinal microbiota, may play a far greater role in human health than previously imagined.

The international obesity epidemic is widespread, nondiscriminatory, and deadly. But do we really understand all of the factors underlying this alarming trend? The concept of energy balance (energy consumed = energy expended + energy stored) is undeniable, being driven by the first law of thermodynamics. Consequently, there is no contradiction that excessive calorie intake and plummeting levels of physical activity are largely to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines.

Related Articles


However, scientists remain baffled as to why some individuals are particularly prone to becoming obese and if there is anything aside from lowering calorie consumption and increasing activity levels that can be done to prevent and/or reverse excessive weight gain in our most at-risk populations.

Physiologists have long known that our intestines are brimming with live bacteria, some of which provide important substances (e.g., vitamin B-12) to their host. However, research conducted over the last decade suggests that these organisms, often referred to as intestinal microbiota, may play a far greater role in human health than previously imagined. One area of intense interest is the possibility that the mix of intestinal bacteria with which we are endowed might directly influence our risk for obesity. Obese individuals tend to have different microbial profiles in their intestines than lean individuals, and scientists have learned that the bacteria common to obesity may metabolize the food we eat in a way that allows us to harvest more calories from it and deposit those calories as fat.

To determine whether altering one's bacterial profile can change obesity risk, researchers from the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) transferred the intestinal bacteria of obesity-prone or obesity-resistant rats into the intestinal tracts of germ-free mice recipients, therefore having no innate gut microbiota. Some animals were fed a regular diet, whereas others were provided unlimited access to a high-fat diet. Food intake and weight gain were monitored for 8 weeks, and intestinal samples were analyzed for a variety of physiologic markers of metabolism and normal feedback mechanisms known to play a role in maintenance of energy balance.

As hypothesized, mice that received intestinal bacteria from obesity-prone animals ate more food, gained more weight, and became more obese than those receiving microbiota from obesity-resistant animals. Animals with microbiota transferred from obesity-prone animals also exhibited changes in intestinal nutrient sensors and gut peptide levels, likely influencing how the animals responded to eating.

The authors' conclusions are three-fold. First, they theorize that obese individuals, when given the opportunity to overeat, may harbor specific gut microbiota profiles that promote excess weight gain. Second, they propose that differences in gut microbes can be related to behavioral changes and increased food intake. Finally, they believe that the mix of microbiota you have may influence your ability to properly sense and respond to a meal. They hope to eventually find ways to manipulate the intestinal microbiota profiles of especially at-risk individuals so that they can more easily maintain a healthy body weight.

As part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition, the nation's leading nutrition research society, results from this study were presented on April 23, 2012 in San Diego, CA.

Frank Duca, Yassine Sakar and Mihai Covasa from INRA, France were co-authors on this paper.

This study was funded by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162223.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2012, April 23). Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162223.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162223.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins