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In mice. That’s the common caveat with so many studies. Now that that’s out of the way…

As we’ve become more aware of the role played by our intestinal bacteria, we’ve become aware that health and wellness require seeing our bodies as interconnected life systems, us plus them. A new study shows that gut bacteria can affect weight gain. Take gut bacteria from overweight humans, give it to mice, and the mice gain weight (relative to a control.) Diet and exercise are probably still important, and their relative importance hasn’t been established; but taking care of our bacteria may be as important as taking care of our bodies. How to do so in humans isn’t firmly established yet. One surprising consequence in this one study that the bacteria may transfer from an overweight mouse to a normal weight mouse via the researchers hands. If the bacteria that encourage weight gain can pass from body to body and not via digestion, then is some aspect of obesity contagious?

(Click on the photo for the link.)

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Gut Bacteria Affect Our Metabolism” – Science Daily

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2 thoughts on “Obesity Tied To Gut Bacteria

  1. We’ve known for years that obesity clusters in social groups:
    – A 2011 study found that social norms for body size were only a modest factor in obesity clusters, http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2010.300053
    – A 2012 study found that students who were borderline overweight were 40 percent more likely to decrease their BMI over the course of the school year if they reported having lean friends, while similar students were 56 percent more likely to show an increase in BMI if their friends were obese, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0039795

    Perhaps sharing microbes is an important driver of this effect, in conjunction with peer-influenced dietary and activity choices.

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