What Have Gut Bacteria Got To Do With Obesity?

Here at Healthpath, we’re proud to offer evidence-based advice. However, we’re aware that science can seem a bit impenetrable and dry. Boring, even.

We also believe that education is the first step to regain control. We read a lot of scientific papers, so we thought it would be a good idea to create a digest (no pun intended) of some of the key research.

We hope these plain-English versions bring the science to life and—even more importantly—help you address your symptoms for good.


“Gut Microbiome and Obesity: A Plausible Explanation for Obesity”


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What’s the title in plain English?

A report on how gut bacteria could influence obesity


What did they do?

The authors reviewed the available evidence, discussing how changes in gut bacteria contribute to the development of obesity.


What are the take-home points from the study?

1. The gut microbiome plays a role in several metabolic pathways that also involve our immune system, fat tissue, genes and diet.

2. Several theories about how gut bacteria are linked to obesity were discussed in this paper, including the idea that gut microbes are involved in how we process, absorb and use nutrients. The authors then discuss gut and brain-sensing pathways, which are involved in appetite and fat storage.

3. Researchers looked at  stool samples gathered from both obese and lean people (and some animals). The authors suggested that obese individuals have similar gut bacteria profiles, which are more efficient at storing calories compared to the gut bacteria profiles found in lean people.

The Healthpath view:

A large body of evidence supports the view that changes in gut bacteria may contribute to the development of obesity. Analytical technologies using stool analysis are increasing our understanding of the metabolic collaboration between gut microbes, and the mechanisms through which the gut can influence obesity.

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Read the full published study here.

Tegan Philp BA PgDip MSc is a Registered Nutritional Therapist. Passionate about all things gut-related, her master’s dissertation was on the role of the microbiome in cardiovascular outcomes. Tegan has over eight years’ experience working for leading nutrition colleges in both Australia and the UK. You can learn more about Tegan on her practitioner page or connect with her via LinkedIn.

Ref: Sanmiguel, C., Gupta, A., & Mayer, E. A. 2015. Gut Microbiome and Obesity: A Plausible Explanation for Obesity. Current obesity reports, 4(2), 250-61.

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