New evidence on link between gut microbes and development of obesity – does overgrowth of endotoxin-producing enterobacteria play a role? New research from China seems to be suggesting this.

Earlier in May this year I posted the English translation of a German article I had written in the  newspaper “DIe WELT” about the link between gut microbes and obesity and the enormous public health implications this knowledge has, if we improve our understanding on the association between the composition of the trillions of bacteria residing in our guts and the development of disease states such as inflammation and obesity.

Here is the link to the older post on the blog for context:

https://themdjournal.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/gutmicrobiota-play-a-pivotal-role-in-the-development-of-obesity/

And here is a new study from China published in the science journal Nature that suggests that overgrowth of endotoxin-producing enterobacteria may lead to obesity via increased inflammation and insulin resistance. Read the open access study here: http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/ismej2012153a.pdf

The complexity of the association between our gut microbial ecology and specific diseases is not to be underestimated. Most research in this area is coming up with very conflicting results when analyzing the precise gut composition and determining the ratios of different microbes residing in the gut by using metagenomic testing of stool samples. A lot more research will be coming out in this area soon, as drug companies and food industry have a very vested interest in promoting pre-biotics and pro-biotics to enhance growth of one bacteria over another.  This study in China looked at a diet of whole grains and traditional chinese medicine and the impact on bacterial growth. More qualitative information on whole foods and outcome on bacterial gut ecology and the link to disease is warranted before single substitutions with both pre- and pro-biotics are to be widely recommended to public at large, in my opinion.

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