Bacteria in Intestine May be Linked to Weight Gain & Obesity

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • Many people struggle with losing weight regardless of their best efforts to do so. However a new recent study indicates that there may be a factor beyond calories and exercise contributing to your failed efforts. If you are overweight and unable to shed pounds, you may have a particular mix of bacteria in your intestinal tract that is impacting your ability to lose weight.


    For those of you who have been following the health media, you’ve probably already read about a recent study led by Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University School of Medicine, located in St. Louis. In his study he found that those considered obese had more of a particular type of bacteria called Firmicutes and less of the type called Bacteroidetes ,which is the predominant of the two in those of normal weight.

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    Although more follow-up research is needed, what we’re learning now is that the bacteria that is prevalent in your gut is impacting not only how your body digests foods, but also the amount of calories your body is extracting which in turn influences your overall body weight.


    A good gut bacterium contributes to many necessary functions within the body. However, when there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which some believe is caused by a poor diet and/or an overuse of antibiotics or other drugs, the imbalance can contribute to numerous health and weight problems and especially cravings.


    Even though we don’t know if the Firmicutes cause obesity or the opposite is true, the good news is that diet has the power to change the bacterial makeup in your digestive track. Gordon’s researchers found that switching from a low fat plant-based diet to a high fat and sugar diet increased the Firmicutes bacteria in a single day. Therefore the reverse seems just as plausible.


    So what can you do to improve your digestive flora? For starters, I would recommend moving to a diet rich in vegetables and whole foods and eliminating all processed foods and white flour products from your diet completely. There are also many great probiotics on the market to increase the good bacteria in your body. However, an even better option is to consume food and drink-based probiotics, which aid in digestion and help to rebuild your gut in the most natural and effective way.

Published On: January 13, 2010