News / Science & Technology

Gut Bacteria Might Contribute to Obesity

Microbes May Contribute to Obesityi
X
September 06, 2013 7:55 PM
New scientific evidence suggests what or how much we eat isn’t the only factor affecting our weight. The microbes living in our intestines matter, too.

The results of this new study raise the possibility that probiotic bacteria may someday be added to diet and exercise to help fight obesity.

In the study, cited in Science, researchers started with mice raised in sterile environments with no bacteria in their guts and gave them gut microbe samples taken from human twins, both identical and fraternal. The twins’ genes were similar, but one of each pair was obese, the other was not.

Mice that received gut bacteria from the obese twin gained more weight than those inoculated with the thin twin microbes, and their metabolisms showed signs of trouble like those seen in obese humans.

“That was a surprise,” said Ronald Evans, a molecular biologist at the Salk Institute.

Evans was not involved in this research, but wrote a commentary on two related studies published last week in Nature.

The studies showed people with less diverse collections of microbes in their guts are more likely to gain weight, and show the beginning signs of diabetes, than those with more microbial diversity.

“The question [those studies] left on the table is, is the microbiome following the changes in our bodies,” he said, “or is it causing the changes in our bodies?”

He says the latest study takes an important step toward saying the microbes cause the changes.

But things really got interesting when the researchers put the obese-microbe mice and the lean-microbe mice in the same cage.

“Co-housing resulted in the invasion of the lean microbes into the obese cage mate’s gut community, but not vice versa,” said Washington University scientist Jeffrey Gordon, who coordinated the research.

When those lean microbes invaded and took over the guts of the obese-microbe mice, those mice gained less weight than mice that didn’t have a cage mate carrying lean microbes.

But it didn’t happen the other way around: having a fat cage mate didn’t make the lean-microbe mice fat.

But before anyone goes out to find a skinny roommate to help lose weight, consider that the mice swapped microbes through the unsavory habit of eating each other’s droppings.

“The question is, can we do this in people,” said Evans, the Salk Institute researcher, “and can we actually get to the point where we have a culture that would be what you might call a good bacteria, or probiotic pill?”

Gordon and his colleagues have cultured some of the microbes from the lean mice, but the cultures were less effective.

And for now, at least, it’s not possible to take a magic probiotic pill and eat all the hamburgers you want. Mice that ate a high-fat, low-vegetable diet gained weight regardless of what microbes they carried, though lean-microbe mice gained less weight. And this time the lean microbes didn’t take over the guts of obese-microbe mice.

“The answer appears to be diet, diet, diet,” Gordon said.

Better diets improved the diversity of microbes in overweight people’s guts in the two studies in Nature on which Evans commented, and reduced the metabolic symptoms that can lead to disease.

Except, unfortunately, in those people who already had diverse gut microbes. They didn’t get the same benefit from changing diets.

“When we dine, we don’t dine alone,” Evans said. “We are dining with all of our microbial friends that we’re carrying around with us.”

And there’s growing evidence that the 100 trillion or so microbes we carry on us and inside us - what scientists call our microbiome - are doing all sorts of things we never expected, from training our immune systems to regulating our moods.

Good reasons to treat them right, Evans says.

“You want to be nice to your microbiome. It could be our friend.”

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Debu-sen from: JPN
September 06, 2013 9:42 PM
It is interesting that microbes might cause obesity.
We know that lean people gain less weight when they eat same amount of food as fat people do.
We have understood that's caused by thier body characteristics and this report said that are microbes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid