Saturday, 31 December 2016

Gut bacteria and visceral body fat connection

Gut bacteria

A connection has been drawn between certain types of bacteria, as recovered in human feces, and levels of abdominal body fat. This could suggest a link between inherited bacteria and obesity.

The new research follows on from a series of studies looking at the heritable bacteria found in the fecal microbiome and different metabolic conditions. With the new study, microbiologists from King's College London have discovered that people with a high diversity of bacteria in their feces tended to carry lower levels of visceral fat. In contrast, those with a more narrow range of bacteria, tended to carry more fat.
Visceral fat refers to the body fat stored in the abdominal cavity, in close proximity to important internal organs. Higher levels of fat in this area have been connected with a greater chance of developing metabolic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The experimental data was drawn from a study of twins, looking at 1,313 twins who agreed to participate in an on-going medical study called TwinsUK. The twins were mostly female and all were U.K. born. For the specific study, stool samples provided by participants and subjected to analysis.
The analysis focused on fecal microbes and the extraction of microbial DNA. The information about microbial diversity was correlated with various measures of obesity including body mass index.
The researchers are interpreting the findings as evidence of a possible genetic influence on obesity. However, given this was an observational study, while the findings do so a correlation between a person’s microbiome and visceral fat, additional studies will be needed to show if there is a specific influence of microbial genes in relation to obesity. If such a link was proven it could lead to new treatments and interventions.
In a research note, the lead scientist Dr Michelle Beaumont stated: 'This study has shown a clear link between bacterial diversity in feces and markers of obesity and cardiovascular risk, particularly for visceral fat.”
The findings are published in the journal Genome Biology. The research paper is titled “Heritable components of the human fecal microbiome are associated with visceral fat.”

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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