The global obesity epidemic is growing at a staggering rate and shows no sign of slowing; 1 in 3 people in the UK will be obese by 2034 and 1 in 10 will develop Type 2 diabetes.
Prevention remains the most effective treatment strategy for addressing this unprecedented public health catastrophe. The solution requires changes in health policy and eating behaviors. But, one scientific question remains unanswered: why are some of us susceptible to weight gain while others can eat anything with impunity?
Do our genes make us fat?
If you read the popular press, you could be forgiven for thinking that the obesity epidemic is largely the result of our genes.
Our genes are part of the problem, but it doesn’t take a rocket powered obesity scientist to work out that our lifestyle and eating habits play an important role in determining our weight. Just look at the amazing speed that the obesity epidemic has swept the country, that is not explained by genetics.Gut feeling about obesity
A recent discovery has been that the bacteria within our gut play an important role in determining our weight. Your “genome” (all the genes that code and make you) is dwarfed by the gut “microbiome” (the microbial genes that reside within your gut) – a massive, highly individualised engine essential to your health.
Much like any other ecosystem, diversity is an important biomarker for health, and research suggests that obese people lose some of the diversity in their intestinal ecosystem. Obese individuals possess different bacteria to lean people that are very efficient at harvesting energy from their diet.What does your microbiome do?Your gut bacteria have a staggeringly large armory of signaling pathways. They metabolise your food, your medicines and environmental toxins, they provide you with essential nutrients and they educate and modulate your immune system. You and your bugs are entirely co-dependent on each other for your mutual health.
But the microbiome may also control your eating behavior and feelings of satiety and hunger. The “Gut-brain” axis could therefore explain why some people keep eating when they should really stop.5 It may also explain changes in feelings of anxiety or depression.
Can you change your microbiome to lose weight?
It maybe that antibiotics, probiotics and prebiotics treatments have a role, but as of yet, we are lacking really good evidence for their use. Even faecal transplantation has been suggested, …
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Lifestyle