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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Obesity May Be Linked to Gut Bacteria

Researchers in Shanghai identified a human bacteria linked with obesity, fed it to mice and compared their weight gain with rodents without the bacteria. The latter did not become obese despite being fed a high-fat diet and being prevented from exercising.

The bacterium – known as enterobacter – encourages the body to make and store fat, and prevents it from being used, by deregulating the body’s metabolism-controlling genes.
 The researches discovered that the bacterium could be controlled with a special diet:
The Shanghai team fed a morbidly obese man a special diet designed to inhibit the bacterium linked to obesity and found that he lost 29 per cent of his body weight in 23 weeks. The patient was prevented from doing any exercise during the trial.

Prof Zhao said such a loss in an obese patient using this diet was unprecedented. The patient also recovered from diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease.

The diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicines and non-digestible carbohydrates changed the pH in the gut which limited the bacterium’s activity.

Enterobacter also release chemicals, called endotoxins, which cause insulin resistance and a slower uptake of glucose from the blood after eating. Patients take longer to feel full, so they eat more.

A control for calorie intake was not possible as administering the diet with normal bacteria would cause unsustainable hunger, as the bacteria stops fat stores being mobilised and satiating the body, Mr Zhao said.

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