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New Findings Using Gut Bacteria to Prevent Weight Gain

Tim Boyer's picture
Eat what you want without weight gain may be possible

Will we ever be able to eat whatever we want and not gain weight? New research findings demonstrate that using specially designed gut bacteria might do the trick and help prevent obesity.


According to a news release from The American Physiological Society, researchers are presenting their latest findings from a novel experiment where mice are fed specially designed gut bacteria that prevents them from gaining weight while on a high-fat diet.

Their findings are particularly relevant today as the worldwide progression of obesity shows no signs of decreasing, in spite of repeated advice by health experts that the public needs to eat less and exercise more. While there are multiple reasons for some cases of obesity, experts agree that eating too much of what we like is the primary problem, which translates into fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries and diabetes for many.

Earlier news reports have described experiments that show the potential of controlling weight gain by altering the bacterial population within the digestive tract—even in humans with such treatment as fecal transplant using thin people poop. However, a more palatable option may be to consume a glass of water containing engineered gut bacteria that are designed to deliver a small lipid that helps suppress appetite and reduce inflammation.

“We have previously shown that this approach with engineered bacteria could inhibit obesity when standard mice were fed a high-fat diet,” says Sean Davies, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. “Our new studies focused on mice highly prone to develop atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease, and we showed that the engineered bacteria were beneficial not only in inhibiting obesity, but also in protecting against fatty liver disease and somewhat against atherosclerosis.”

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In the study performed by Dr. Davies and his colleagues, standard lab mice were fed a high-fat diet while also receiving the engineered bacteria via drinking water. At the same time the same type of mice were fed a high-fat diet, but served as controls in the experiment with either non-engineered bacteria in their drinking water or just plain water.

What the researchers found was that the engineered-bacteria fed mice gained less body weight and body fat while on a high-fat diet than the control mice. Furthermore, they also found that when mice with an increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease were fed the engineered bacteria, they too demonstrated having less fat and reduced liver fibrosis and a trend toward reduced atherosclerotic plaques, in comparison to the same type of mice treated with the control diet.

“Some day in the future, it might be possible to treat the worst effects of obesity simply by administering these bacteria,” Davies said. “Because of the sustainability of gut bacteria, this treatment would not need to be every day.”

For more about how obesity may be treatable by controlling your gut bacteria, here is some recent advice about Probiotics as a Natural Health Remedy: 5 Points to Remember.

Reference: The American Physiological Society―“Researchers Target Gut Bacteria to Reduce Weight Gain

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