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Gut bacteria reverses obesity

Published on 14/05/2013

A bacterium that lives in the gut has managed to reduce obesity in mice following a study in Belgium.


Two thirds of British men are considered obese

Researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain found that a compound containing specific bacteria positively changed the health and size of obese mice.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the bacterium is believed to alter the gut lining and the process of how food is absorbed.

Earlier this year, statistics from the NHS showed that only a third of men fell within the healthy weight range with the majority overweight or obese.

Whilst animal trials have proven successful, tests will need to be performed in people to assess whether it could be used to lose weight in humans.

Professor Patrice Cani, from the Catholic University of Louvain spoke to the BBC: "Of course it is an improvement, we did not completely reverse the obesity, but it is a very strong decrease in the fat mass.

"It is the first demonstration that there is a direct link between one specific species and improving metabolism."

Mice on a specific high-fat diet grew to three times the size of their leaner counterparts and then fed the bacteria. The larger mice remained bigger but had lost half their extra weight despite an unchanged diet.

Professor Colin Hill from University College Cork, said: "This is an exciting study. In the past we've had plenty of research linking bacteria and weight gain but this is the first time an intervention seems to work.”

Whilst there are aesthetic merits to reducing obesity there are many more health benefits. For example it is estimated that obesity causes around 22,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year.

To encourage a healthier lifestyle many health insurance providers offer discounted gym memberships and rewards for buying fruit and vegetables.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013


Categories:  Health InsuranceHealthMedical
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