The intestinal microbiota influences the ability to lose weight

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According to new research, a new factor has been discovered that influences the ability to lose weight. The findings were recently published in mSystems, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

“The gut microbiome can help or cause resistance to weight loss, and this offers the opportunity to try to modify the gut microbiome to impact weight loss,” said study lead author Dr. Christian Diener, a researcher at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington.

To conduct the research, Dr. Diener and colleagues focused on a large cohort of people who were involved in a lifestyle intervention study. Thus, instead of a specific diet or exercise program, the intervention involved a commercial behavioural training program, associated with the advice of a dietitian and a nurse. Finally, 48 people lost more than 1% of their body weight per month in a period of 6-12 months and 57 people did not lose weight and had a stable body mass index (BMI) in the same period. The researchers relied on metagenomics, the study of genetic material recovered from blood and stool samples. They then analysed the metabolites in the blood and the proteins in the blood.

The research identified 31 metagenomic functional characteristics of the basal stool, associated with weight loss responses. These included complex polysaccharide and protein degradation genes, stress response genes, respiration-related genes, cell wall synthesis genes, and intestinal bacterial replication rates. Interestingly, that ability of the intestinal microbiome to break down starch has increased in people who have not lost weight. At the same time, it has been shown that genes that help bacteria grow faster, multiply, replicate and assemble cell walls have increased in people who have lost more weight.

“Before this study, we knew that the composition of bacteria in the gut was different in obese people than in non-obese people, but now we saw that there is a different set of genes that are encoded in the bacteria in our gut that respond to the interventions of weight loss, ”said Dr. Diener. He also stated that “The intestinal microbiome is a major player in modulating the success of a weight loss intervention.”

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