Bacteria in the intestine regulate body weight
Bacteria apparently have a significantly greater influence on body weight than previously thought. With the right bacteria in the digestive tract, diets may become superfluous in the future, French scientists reported at the "Experimental Biology" congress in San Diego.
In experiments with mice, the researchers led by Frank Duca, Yassine Sakar and Mihai Covasa from the French Institute of Agricultural Science (INRA) discovered an undreamed-of influence of the bacterial community in the gastrointestinal area on metabolism and body weight. Here, the scientists also see a possible explanation for the fact that some people can eat excessively without gaining weight, while others get fat very quickly.
Intestinal flora with a direct influence on the risk of obesity According to the scientists from the French Institute of Agricultural Science, the bacterial community in the digestive tract, often referred to as intestinal flora, has a significant influence on metabolism and the development of body weight. It has long been known that our intestines are colonized by countless bacteria that have a significant impact on the immune system, digestion and the supply of important substances such as vitamin B-12. The mixture of intestinal bacteria with which we are endowed also has a direct impact on the risk of obesity and obesity, the French scientists reported at the "Experimental Biology" congress. A summary of the lecture was published in the FASEB journal (Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) under the title "Gut flora regulates the metabolism".
Transferring different profiles of the intestinal bacteria Recently, scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg discovered that the intestinal flora of people worldwide - depending on the presence of certain bacteria - can be divided into three different types. The French researchers have now been able to demonstrate a further breakdown here. Obese people seem to tend to develop different microbial profiles in their intestines than slim ones. In their experiments, the INRA scientists also checked whether the bacterial profile and thus the risk of obesity can be transferred. As part of their study, the researchers transferred the intestinal bacteria from overweight and obesity-resistant rats to the digestive tract of aseptic mice, and one group of animals received regular food and the other was provided with unlimited fat-rich food. The researchers then monitored food intake and body weight development over an eight-week period. In addition, intestinal samples were taken to check certain physiological markers of metabolism that play a role in maintaining the energy balance, the scientists explained.
Weight gains dependent on the intestinal flora The study found that the mice that carried the intestinal flora of overweight rats ate more high-fat food and in the group that received unlimited food, around 40 percent weight after eight weeks had grown. In the animals that were fed at regular intervals, the weight gain was around 20 percent. However, the mice with the intestinal bacteria of the obesity-resistant rats had only increased by about 10 percent, regardless of whether they were fed regularly or could eat an unlimited amount of fat. The mice with the intestinal flora of overweight rats also compared the profile of the donor rats in their metabolic pathways. For example, they produced a similar enzyme combination for fat processing in the liver, according to the French scientists.
Influence of intestinal flora profiles as a diet replacement? The authors conclude that certain intestinal flora profiles promote excessive weight gain when people are able to eat excessively, due to the effects on their metabolism and in particular the reduced release of special intestinal peptides that are responsible for the feeling of satiety animals with the intestinal flora of overweight rats are also prone to changes in behavior and increased food intake. The same can be assumed for people, explained Duca, Sakar and Covasa. However, the researchers hope to be able to specifically influence the intestinal flora profiles in the future and thus ensure a healthy body weight. According to this, the transmission of certain bacterial communities could possibly create a special profile of the intestinal flora. At least the current study clearly proves "the ability of a special intestinal bacteria society to influence the metabolism of the host", according to the experts. If it were possible to model these bacterial communities in a targeted manner, complex diets could soon be a thing of the past, the French researchers explained. (fp)
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Picture: Gerd Altmann