Intestinal Bacteria Triggers Obesity


obesityOne in 10 adults worldwide, or about half a billion people today suffer from obesity. This number kept on growing since the 1980s. In addition to an unhealthy lifestyle and genetic factors, obesity is also caused by bacteria.

The ‘Journal of Proteome Research’ published the results of a new research: a bacterium that lives in the colon may play an important role in obesity. These bacteria slow down the burning of brown fat.

There are two types of fat tissue in the body: brown fat and white fat. The role of brown fat  is to burn calories and white fat, when stimulated. While the role of white fat is to store energy or calories.

Every person has different composition of brown fat and white fat. However, thin people tend to have more brown fat than those who are overweight or obese. Young women of normal weight also tend to have brown fat that is high, compared with the adult men who are overweight.

“This is the first study to examine whether intestinal bacteria affects brown fat,” says researchers from Imperial College London and Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, as quoted by Genius Beauty.

They conducted a series of experiments in rats. One group of rats had normal intestinal microflora, the other group did not have bacteria in their colon.

Brown fat in the group of bacteria-free rats were more active in helping burn calories so the weight tends to be more ideal. While the group of mice that has bacteria in their intestines tend to gain weight faster.

Gender differences also affect the outcome of the experiment. Male rats with bacteria in the intestine are likely to gain weight more rapidly than female rats.

Intestinal bacteria contribute to energy metabolism by producing short-chain fatty acids through fermentation of carbohydrates. When the bacteria does not exists, short-chain fatty acids are not produced and interferes with a number of metabolic processes, thereby triggering calorie burning (lipolysis activity) in both brown fat and liver.

They believe this study could be a reference to develop new ways of preventing obesity and weight gain.