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Intestinal bacteria and obesity

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New research from the University of Lovaine in Belgium has for the first time demonstrated a role between intestinal bacteria and obesity.

The issue has to do with the presence of gram-negative bacteria. Gram negative bacteria produce what are known as endotoxins. Endotoxins are toxic compounds that live within the bacteria. When gram negative bacteria die, endotoxins are released and promote an inflammatory response.

To understand the role of inflammation and weight gain, see our article on this subject.

In the study, researchers experimenting with mice identified key markers such as glucose tolerance, weight gain and fat development that were directly correlated to endotoxins from gut bacteria.

A key to understanding the implications of this study is that gram negative bacteria are typically pathogens, and compete for food with gram positive bacteria. Gram positive bacteria are in essence the good bugs.

The study may indicate a beneficial role for probiotic supplementation with respect to weight management and inflammation by virtue of the fact gram positive bacteria tend to starve off gram negative bacteria.

Changes in gut microbiota control metabolic endotoxemia-induced inflammation in high-fat diet-induced obesity and diabetes in mice.

Cani PD, Rodrigo B, Knauf C, Waget A, Neyrinck AM, Delzenne NM, Burcelin R.