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Study shows that gut bacteria is linked to yet another health issue: obesity


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Photo: Stocksy/Vera Lair

It seems as if the world learns something new each day about how gut bacteria affects health. (Heck, the right kind can even help you age better or even be more creative.) Now, new findings have found it might play an even bigger role in understanding obesity than previously thought.

Gut bacteria could affect metabolism, thanks to certain amino acids in the blood, which the study linked to obesity and the composition of the gut microbiome.

In the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers discovered that gut bacteria could affect metabolism, thanks to certain amino acids in the blood, which the findings linked to obesity and the composition of the gut microbiome.

After analyzing blood plasma and stool samples from 674 participants, researchers found 19 metabolites that were directly linked to the participants’ body mass index (BMI). Two of the metabolites had a strong connection to obesity: glutamate, which has been associated with obesity in previous studies, and BCAA, which is used to predict type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Those metabolites were also linked to intestinal bacteria, indicating that they act as “mediators” between the gut and obesity.

“The differences in BMI were largely explained by the differences in the levels of glutamate and BCAA. This indicates that the metabolites and gut bacteria interact, rather than being independent of each other,” said study co-author Marju Orho-Melander, PhD, in a press release.

Dr. Orho-Melander said scientists could use this information to uncover how to alter gut bacteria to reduce the risk of obesity, as well as the type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease associated with it. Though a lot more research is required to deduce a strong causal correlation, the power of bacteria in your intestines and how it connects with your overall health and well-being is becoming increasingly clear. Check out this at-home test to get a sense of where your microbiome stands.

Here’s how to boost your gut health without probiotics. Also, here’s how your gut microbiome may be able to diagnose PTSD.

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