Health

The connection between gut bacteria and weight loss

When trying to lose weight, there are many approaches, from increased cardio through to dieting. But what if there’s more to weight loss than we already know, and what if the reason we gain weight is something we simply can’t control?

The experts at House Call Doctor have put together everything you need to know.

The effect of gut bacteria

In simplest terms, gut bacteria has an impact on our weight as it lines the intestines and comes in contact with all food consumed. The bacteria impacts the nutrients absorbed and how energy is stored in the body.

There have been several studies looking at how gut bacteria affects weight loss. An example is a study where the gut bacteria from obese people were put into mice, and the mice gained weight. These results have suggested gut bacteria does affect weight.

It’s believed this may occur because of the effect bacteria has on digestion. As people cannot digest fibre but gut bacteria can, they produce chemicals which benefit gut health and promote weight loss.

This has led to further studies where people with a higher fibre intake were found to have lower weight.

Alternative ways gut bacteria can affect your health

As well as weight loss, there are other ways gut bacteria can affect your health. These include:

  • Heart disease – In a 2013 study, it was discovered gut bacteria feed off particular foods, producing a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide. This compound is known to boost the risk of heart disease.
  • Immune system – As the gut is the main area where the immune system interacts with what is put into the body, gut bacteria play a large role in maintaining a fully-functioning immune system.
  • Brain – In a 2011 study, it was discovered disruption of gut bacteria may have an effect on the brain and its behaviour. The study conducted on mice found those given antibiotics (particularly, those which kill gut bacteria) were less anxious, and when the gut bacteria was restored, their anxiety increased.