A healthy weight is one of the most serious issues of our generation. Approximately 20 million Americans are considered obese or overweight. “We are looking at a major public health epidemic that must be stopped,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, Professor of Global Health at IHME.
Healthy Weight: How Your Gut May Affect Your Waistline
Being overweight is often attributed to a failure on our part — a failure to exercise enough or a failure to eat properly. While diet and physical activity do matter, there are other factors at play. Genetics, age, stress levels, hormones, and more can all have an influence on your weight.
The composition of your gut microbes, it turns out, may also have an impact.
The variety of microbes you have in your gut – your gut microbiome – is often considered a strong indicator of wellness. According to Nature study, people who have a more diverse gut microbiome may be less likely to be overweight or obese. Other studies also suggest that people with higher levels of Akkermansia muciniphila, Bifidobacterium, Coprococcus, and Roseburia are less likely to be overweight. The presence of L. reuteri, on the other hand, was associated with weight gain.
Once a person attains a healthy weight, it can be difficult to maintain. Researchers at Imperial College London sought to identify the microbiome’s role in this. In the study, they fed mice a high-fat diet to help them gain weight. When the mice were transitioned to a diet meant to encourage weight loss, the researchers made an interesting discovery. The mice’s gut microbes retained characteristics gained during the high-fat diet. Even when the diets of the mice were altered, their microbes were still optimised for a high-fat diet.
While we often concentrate on weight as a measure of wellness, it’s only one part of the story of your body and well being. Learning about your microbiome can help you understand how your weight fits into a more complex picture of how your body works.
If you’re curious about how the gut microbiome may relate to weight, Explorer™ can help. Explorer gives you a personalised report of how your microbiome compares to the latest research.
Explorer also suggests potential next steps, rooted in the latest scientific research. Also, improved, and more in-depth than ever version of Explorer.