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Obese could be given a probiotic to prevent weight gain

Obese could be given a probiotic to prevent weight gain

A new study published in the journal ‘Cell’ has discovered that there is a specific bacterial family common to the stomachs of leaner individuals.

It is hoped that this research will lead to personalised probiotic treatments being used to treat obesity and prevent the many health conditions that it causes.

What research was undertaken?

A team of scientists at Cornell University transplanted mice with a particular strain of bacteria in the hope of showing that it prevented weight gain.

As expected those mice treated with this bacteria (christensenellaceae) were found to gain less weight than those not treated with the microbes.

Associate Professor Ruth Ley from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics of Cornell University had this to say about the findings:

“Our results showing that bacterial abundances run in families may be useful for disease risk prediction.”

“The microbiome is also an attractive target for therapeutic manipulation. By understanding the nature of our association with these health-associated bacteria, we could eventually exploit them to promote health.”

What other research has been done?

In another study performed on twins it was shown that human genes can influence the composition of gut microbes, with identical twins sharing specific types of microbes, while non-identical twins not experiencing the same microbes despite sharing the same environmental influences of the womb.

It has long been thought that environmental influences were the cause of these beneficial microbes.

The latest study by Cornell University proves otherwise:

“Up until now, variation in the abundances of gut microbes has been explained by diet, the environment, lifestyle, and health.”

“This is the first study to firmly establish that certain types of gut microbes are heritable – that their variation across a population is in part due to host genotype variation, not just environmental influences.”

How can this research be used?

Although research is still in its infancy it is hoped that in the future a probiotic containing this particular bacteria can be manufactured to be used to prevent obesity.

Professor Ley concluded:

“Our results showing that bacterial abundances run in families may be useful for disease risk prediction.”

“The microbiome is also an attractive target for therapeutic manipulation. By understanding the nature of our association with these health-associated bacteria, we could eventually exploit them to promote health.”

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