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Gut flora: Obesity, dietary supplements and medicines change our gut microbiome

Gut flora: Obesity, dietary supplements and medicines change our gut microbiome


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The biodiversity of intestinal bacteria is reduced in overweight people

Numerous scientific studies have already shown that intestinal bacteria have an influence on weight. Studies have shown, among other things, that these bacteria control our feeling of satiety and can cause obesity. Researchers have now found that the diversity of intestinal bacteria in overweight people is reduced.

It has long been known that overweight people have a significantly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, 86 percent of all patients with this type of diabetes are overweight. Genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise, and the composition of the intestinal bacteria also play a role here. Because the gut microbiome helps humans with food processing and thus has a direct influence on the metabolism. In people who are overweight, the variety of bacteria in the intestine is significantly reduced compared to normal-weight people. Above all, “good” intestinal bacteria, which fulfill functions for a healthy metabolism, are reduced. Researchers have now found that out.

Type 2 diabetes mostly occurs with obesity

Scientists at the Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB) of the Medical Faculty at Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (CAU) have researched the connections between genetics, nutrition and microbiome. In a recent paper in Cell Host & Microbe, the IKMB research team, together with international colleagues, found changes in the microbiome that are related to obesity and minor changes that are specifically related to type 2 diabetes.

"Since type 2 diabetes mostly occurs with obesity, it is difficult to distinguish which changes in the intestinal bacteria are specific to type 2 diabetes and which are related to obesity," said Professor Andre Franke, director at the IKMB, in one Message. In collaboration with Professor Curtis Huttenhower from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston (USA), the team around Franke has therefore specifically addressed this issue.

To this end, the researchers determined the gut microbiome from 1,280 stool samples. These come from so-called cohort studies in which numerous test persons regularly collected biological samples, such as stool, urine and blood, as well as information about their lifestyle, diseases and medication taken over a long period of time. For the current research work, the team specifically selected test subjects from three groups: normal weight people, overweight people and overweight people with type 2 diabetes.

Significant reduction in the diversity of intestinal bacteria

The investigations have shown that the microbiome in overweight people - both with and without type 2 diabetes - has changed significantly compared to normal people. The difference between people with and without type 2 diabetes was relatively small. "The significant reduction in the biodiversity of the intestinal bacteria observed so far is mainly related to obesity and less with diabetes in these people," said the first author of the publication, Danish author Louise Thingholm from the IKMB in Kiel.

In addition, the researchers used the cohorts to investigate the influence that regularly taken medications and dietary supplements have on the gut microbiome. They found that medications such as antihypertensives, pain relievers, antidepressants and antidiabetics, as well as dietary supplements such as magnesium, vitamins, calcium and especially iron, markedly alter the gut microbiome.

“Substances of which many people hope to have a health-promoting effect change our intestinal bacteria. They also influence how we process our food and could possibly also play a role in metabolic diseases, ”says Franke. Both obesity and possible medication intake affect the intestinal bacteria of people with type 2 diabetes.

"If we understand more precisely what these changes in the microbiome actually do and which bacteria are the key players here, then we can target them in the future and thus influence the respective disease or perhaps its development," said Franke. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Cell Host & Microbe: Obese Individuals with and without Type 2 Diabetes Show Different Gut Microbial Functional Capacity and Composition, (access: 04.09.2019), Cell Host & Microbe
  • Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (CAU): Intestinal bacteria in type 2 diabetes: Obesity is crucial (accessed: 04.09.2019), Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (CAU)


Video: Diet u0026 The Gut Microbiome with Dr. Gary Wu. MGC Ep. 12 (May 2022).