People’s usual thoughts about health don’t generally delve into the more technical functions of the body such as the colon’s many tiny microbes. In recent times however, it’s been discovered that the composition of the body’s intricate series of different bacteria has direct ties to all manners of illness.
There’s still a lot of ground to cover, but it seems clear that a healthy diet is essential for keeping the stomach’s bacteria in check. Two studies from Nature also suggest that a good composition of gut flora also plays a part in helping you maintain your ideal weight. Any issues will only serve to make any weight loss endeavors that much more difficult.
One study took a close look at the gut microbiota (meaning the overall makeup of the bacteria) of nearly 300 Danish citizens. There was a very obvious pattern when all the results were tallied. A quarter of the group had fewer different types of bacteria in their stomachs than everyone else. This particular group were all heavier in weight than the rest. 80 percent of the study group were technically obese to begin with, and this smaller subset noted problems with packing on weight much faster than normal. The research also indicated that those with less helpful gut flora were more likely to have diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular issues. They were more resistant to insulin and their cholesterol and triglycerides were higher. The likelihood for problems with inflammation was also found to be higher.
The obvious question is whether the stomach’s bacteria can really be at the center of all that potential unease. The results are quite conclusive however, especially considering that those with less bacteria all had a shared lack of eight specific forms that are generally known to be helpful. Dusko Enrilich, a doctor working with France’s national agriculture research institute, suggests these findings will lead to helpful new bacteria based treatments for weight loss in particular.
More work needs to be done to discover which particular strains could make for the most effective probiotics in helping people develop the bacteria they’re missing, but the ability for the body to utilize insoluble fiber is going to play an obvious part. Those with richer bacteria counts generally eat vegetables and fruits more regularly. Since those foods provide the stomach useful insoluble fibers, it’s obvious more focus needs to be put on healthier diets.
As such, Dr. Ehrlich made sure to include diet as a corner stone of a followup study. Close to 50 overweight or obese French citizens were placed upon a strict diet for around a month and a half. Their calories were cut significantly. From there, they were put on a slightly altered diet meant to merely maintain their weight, and then the gut flora was studied yet again. The usual diet of the French is quite a bit different than the one enjoyed by Danes, but the study showed similar findings to the first. All of the same species that those in the Danish study were missing were also lacking in those that had less healthy gut flora.
Dr. Ehrlich is keen to continue the study. He’s confident that similar findings will be apparent no matter which corner of the globe the same study takes place in. The French study showed that a more restrictive diet can indeed increase the richness of their microbial bacteria however, especially among the group that was found to be lacking.
The levels didn’t exactly even out in the end and some issues such as inflammation persisted, but there’s no doubting that proper dieting is essential for the bacteria in the gut and that, in turn, will help make losing weight easier. While it has been known that diet is a major factor in weight loss, this is still a breakthrough in helping understand the exact biological reasoning involved and will push new developments that might finally help those having a hard time shedding their extra pounds.