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'Weight loss gut bacterium' found

national academy of sciences microbiome akkermansia muciniphila diabetes

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#1 Hum

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 15:04

Bacteria that live in the gut have been used to reverse obesity and Type-2 diabetes in animal studies.

Research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a broth containing a single species of bacteria could dramatically alter the health of obese mice.

It is thought to change the gut lining and the way food is absorbed.

Similar tests now need to be take place in people to see if the same bacteria can be used to shed the pounds.

The human body is teeming with bacteria - the tiny organisms outnumber human cells in the body 10 to one.

And there is growing evidence that this collection of bacteria or "microbiome" affects health.

Studies have shown differences between the types and numbers of bacteria in the guts of lean and obese people.

Meanwhile gastric bypass operations have been shown to change the balance of bacteria in the gut.

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, worked with a single species of bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila. It normally makes up 3-5% of gut bacteria, but its levels fall in obesity.

Mice on a high fat diet - which led them to put on two to three times more fat than normal, lean, mice - were fed the bacteria.

The mice remained bigger than their lean cousins, but had lost around half of their extra weight despite no other changes to their diet.

They also had lower levels of insulin resistance, a key symptom of Type-2 diabetes.

Adding the bacteria increased the thickness of the gut's mucus barrier, which stops some material passing from the gut to the blood. It also changed the chemical signals coming from the digestive system - which led to changes in the way fat was processed elsewhere in the body.

Similar results were achieved by adding a type of fibre to diets which led to an increase in the levels of Akkermansia muciniphila.

Prof Cani said it was "surprising" that just one species, out of the thousands in the gut, could have such an effect.

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#2 vcfan

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 15:14

Adding the bacteria increased the thickness of the gut's mucus barrier, which stops some material passing from the gut to the blood.


yeah,no thanks. so the way this works is by limiting the ability of your body to absorb nutrients? I wouldn't be willing to take that risk.

#3 spacer

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 15:21

Pretty cool stuff. Especially the part about diabetes.

yeah,no thanks. so the way this works is by limiting the ability of your body to absorb nutrients? I wouldn't be willing to take that risk.


They don't really specify WHAT is blocked from absorption, so who's to say it's a bad thing? Regardless, the vast majority of nutrient intake comes from the intestines, not the stomach. Even if some stomach absorption is stopped, I'm sure it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

#4 Growled

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 16:44

Similar tests now need to be take place in people to see if the same bacteria can be used to shed the pounds.


I bet they could get plenty of volunteers.

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 00:16

Should be simple to encapsulate the Akkermansia muciniphila and sell it to us in stores.

#6 DocM

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:59

This connection has been suspected for some time, so it's good to see this progress. Anything that provides another route of treatment is a good thing.