Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mouth and Gut Bacteria May Aid in Overweight And Obesity Treatment

Studies done at The Washington University St. Louis Medical School have shown that trillions of bacteria live in our gut. These bacteria perform specific activities such as extracting calories from food we eat and managing nutrients. These bacteria are common to all of us, however, each individual has a unique set of the bacteria.  Studies at Washington University have shown that the composition of the bacteria plays an important role in weight control. A more recent study done at Penn State University is suggesting that mouth bacteria in infants may predict obesity later in life.
The researchers at Washington University studied mice, and concluded that obese mice had more of the bacteria called Firmicutes in their gut, and fewer of  the bacteria called Bacteroidetes.  Firmicutes are associated  with obesity and Bacteroidetes are associated with leanness. These same bacteria were found in the mouths of participants in the Penn State University study. The researchers indicated that an imbalance in these two sets of bacteria could lead to obesity.
The researchers concluded that “the children who had rapid weight gain as infants, which is a strong risk factor for childhood obesity, had fewer groups of bacteria or less diversity in their mouth bacteria. These children also had a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, two of the most common bacteria groups of the human microbiota.”
One of the study’s researchers indicated that “There's … a certain balance of these two common bacteria groups, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, that tends to work best under normal healthy conditions, and disruptions to that balance could lead to dysregulation in digestion,”
Of course researchers will need to determine the full effect of these two types of bacteria in the creation of fat tissue, and the value of the bacteria in the mouth for predicting obesity. And researchers need to determine what diets lead to the optimal composition of these bacteria. However, gaining knowledge about these bacteria may enable us to better fight, predict, and avoid obesity. 


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