Oh, I can’t wait for the supermarket tabloids to get ahold of this one. And watch for the new miracle weight loss products all full of bacteria. Yes, in this brave new world the bacteria that last week were terrorizing you (watch for CRE!) are now your weight loss buddies.
So says a new study on rats. Never mind that in order to get the results they had to either cut the rats guts’ open and sew them back together or transplant the intestinal material (fecal transplant, anyone?). We’ll be seeing lots and lots of expansion on this idea.
Which brings me to the obvious question. We’ve mapped the human genome, but we still don’t know what goes on in our bellies. Most of the bacteria are anaerobes, which means they die off when you try to culture them . We know about a third of our protein comes from these bacteria, and that family lines continue through to the newest generation. The estimate is that we have more than four hundred species, and almost a quadrillion bacteria in our guts. Wouldn’t you think there would be more information?
Nope, we are, in fact, right about where we were with blood transfusions in terms of sophistication. Before we blood typed. Yep, look for some horrendous side effects from fecal transplants that we just don’t understand because the transplantee is allergy/immune sensitive to the transplanted bacteria.
At the same time, I am absolutely certain that gut bacteria have an enormous effect on health, including disease processes like rheumatoid arthritis. So I would love to see more detail and more studies. Instead I think I’ll see more transplants and more products.
Here’s the link to the New York Times article on the rat weight loss.
- Could a transplant of gut bacteria be the key to tackling obesity? (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Gut-Microbe Swap Helps with Weight Loss (scientificamerican.com)
- Gut-microbe swap helps mice shed weight (nature.com)
- After weight-loss surgery, new gut bacteria keep obesity away (vitals.nbcnews.com)
- Bacteria in the Intestines May Help Tip the Bathroom Scale, Studies Show (theweightloss1.wordpress.com)
- Gut microbes may be behind weight loss after gastric bypass (sciencenews.org)
- Gut Microbes Could Help Us Lose Weight (technologyreview.com)
- After weight-loss surgery, new gut bacteria keep obesity away (medcitynews.com)
- The best weight-loss program? Rearrange your stomach’s microbes (medcitynews.com)
- Fat-Buster Bacteria Helps in Gastric Surgery, Researchers Find – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)