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Want to Lose Weight? Check with Your Gut Microbiome

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology recently identified how intestinal bacteria interact during metabolism, paving the way to, among other things, possibly personalizing weight-loss diets. The systems biologists developed a computational algorithm that is able to predict how modifying a person’s diet will affect them based on the bacterial and microorganismal composition of their gut microbiome.

The relationships that microorganisms have with an individual and the food they eat and with each other are extremely complicated. However, the scientists were able to show, in their study published in Cell Metabolism, that their algorithm works to establish causal links between the nutrient content of food and metabolism. They performed an experiment in which a group of overweight patients had their gut microbiomes characterized. These patients were then put on a weight-loss diet. As expected, all the patients lost weight. However, patients with a low-diversity gut microbiome, or low gene counts (LGC), had a reduced level of health-risk markers in their blood and feces compared to patients with a high-diversity gut microbiome, or high gene counts (HGC). Interestingly, the scientists found that they were able to use their algorithm to explain why the two sets of patients responded as they did. Among other things, they found that LGC patients produced fewer amino acids, which could explain their enhanced blood chemistry.

Based on this, the researchers are confident that doctors will be able to effectively modify the diet of overweight patients in order to control their weight and reduce their risk of cardiometabolic diseases. Soon, doctors may even be able to add intestinal bacteria into the gut microbiome of patients with a problematic metabolism. Though this may sound like the probiotics that are already popular and widely used, those mainly work to create a favorable environment. The next generation of probiotics will be able to work directly with the existing gut microbiota to change their composition and lead to lasting weight and health changes.

Source: Chalmers University of Technology

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