Here's a unique weight-loss strategy for you: have a gut bacteria transplant. No, this isn't currently offered for humans, but the results of a new study with mice suggest that it might not actually be as crazy as some other weight-loss strategies people have tried.
We know that gut bacteria can affect our metabolism. But this study, conducted by researchers at the National Food Institute, indicates that our gut bacteria also can have a significant impact on the metabolisms of other creatures they move to.
For this study, the researchers recruited 32 children and adolescents, half of whom were overweight. They then transferred gut bacteria from the participants to the intestines of mice that had been bred to have no intestinal bacteria. The transferred bacteria were the first to colonize the mice. This allowed the researchers to track the bacteria's specific effects on weight gain and metabolism.
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Sure enough, the mice who received bacteria from overweight participants gained more weight than those who received bacteria from participants in a normal weight range, even though the mice ate the same food. The researchers found that the mice who gained the least weight allowed more energy to pass out of their bodies unprocessed. The bacteria also affected how the mice converted carbs and fat, which can be implicated in diseases like type-2 diabetes.
The researchers point out that not all bacteria that live in the guts of humans can survive in mice and that the mice's being handled by their keeper can affect the spread of bacteria. However, the results of this study still provide further evidence of the role gut bacteria can play in weight gain and disease risk.
If you want to maximize your chances of maintaining a healthy weight, you need to have healthy gut bacteria as well. Start with a probiotic, such as Advanced Probiotic Formula, to make sure your gut is colonized with plenty of the good guys. Then keep those bugs happy by eating a fiber-rich diet. I recommend that men get at least 38 grams a day and women shoot for 25.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD