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Gut microbiota may play a role in obesity

Posted 7 years ago by Jacob in General Health News

Scientists have indentified a pattern in the composition of the gut microbiota in those with obesity. The new study may deepen our understanding of how the microbial content of our gut may interact with metabolism. The scientists used a combination of systems biology and computer modelling to create a "novel framework to study the human microbiome". The human microbiome refers to every microorganism in the body and its individual genetic material. In our own bodies, microbial cells outnumber human cells by 10 to 1 and our microbiome is essential for development, immunity and nutrition.

Previous studies on gut microbiota and obesity have shown a difference in the microbiota between obese and lean people. The study carried out in coordination between the University of Washington in Seattle and Harvard University reported that, "We demonstrate that obese microbiomes are less modular, a hallmark of adaptation to low-diversity environments." The scientists commented that their work has layed the groundwork for; "a unique framework for studying the human microbiome, its organisation, and its impact on human health."

The new study shows the potential for prebiotics and probiotics in aiding weight management, although further evidence is needed to highlight how manipulating the microbiota would help individuals lose weight.

OptiBac says: Want to read further research on this topic? See our 'Gut microbiota may be linked to weight gain' article.

Reference: Greenblum, S. et al (2012) Metagenomic systems biology of the human gut microbiome reveals topological shifts associated with obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 109. No. 2 594-599

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