The human gut hosts close to 37 trillion microbes; in fact, many say we are more microbe than human in terms of DNA. According to a Stanford microbiologist “Humans can be regarded as elaborate vessels evolved to permit the survival and propagation of microorganisms” –imagine that? pretty scary!
Consequently, our gut microbes play a big role in maintaining a healthy body and even now a healthy mind. Their functions range from gastrointestinal to building immunity, general protection against infection and even our mental health. So much so, that researchers are looking at the connection between gut health, depression and anxiety disorders. Interestingly, investigators have gone as far as proposing that the intestinal microbes of depressed patients are significantly different from that of healthy people. (2,3,4)
Understandably the role that gut bacteria play in obesity and weight gain is of much interest currently. In fact, it has now been documented that obese people tend to host lower microbial diversity which may compromise important bacterial function associated with maintaining a healthy weight. Even more fascinating is the role of strain specific probiotics targeted specifically for weight loss and metabolic health.
In a six-month human trial, a specific strain of probiotic that was thought to unconsciously reduce daily calories was administered. Men in this trial either received a probiotic or a placebo, no particular dietary or lifestyle instruction was administered as the idea behind the trial was to see what effect this particular probiotic had. Over the next months the probiotic group largely maintained their weight, fat mass and reduced waist size, whilst the placebo group continued on their gradual uphill weight gain. According to the researchers the most interesting aspect of the study was that without consciously realising it, the probiotic group were consuming less calories and this was contributing to their weight maintenance – this strain specific probiotic helped to normalise a healthy appetite and prevent insidious weight gain.
A growing body of literature is investigating the use of these strain specific probiotics to alter the “obese microbiome” to that of a healthy lean individual. (1,2,6,7,8)
I am not suggesting however that one should only rely on a specific probiotic to manage weight but certainly it needs to be incorporated into a healthy weight loss and wellness program. Weight gain is complex with many variables contributing to its cause.
Combining the right probiotic with a healthy diet, exercise, a good sleep regime, a reduction in stress and the right support with a qualified professional, together all contribute to managing metabolic health.
If you would like to hear more about this strain specific probiotic used in our weight loss program for metabolic health – please chat to one of our trained nutritionists or naturopaths.
Of course our diet plays an important role in the composition and well-being of gut flora balance. Our microbiome responds really well to a whole food diet, physical activity and adequate rest – all of which in turn support metabolic and healthy body weight regulation. A rich plant-based diet feeds our microbiome with prebiotic fibres which in turn promote bacterial diversity, satiety, resilience, builds immunity and contributes to healthy weight management. (5)
Interestingly though it has been shown that those who consume more than 30 different types of plant vegetables each week have a much more diverse microbiome than those who consume 10 or less types of plants weekly. And as we now know Microbial Diversity has been associated with general good health (2,9)
Tips to help nourish and nurture the gut:
- Eating a diet rich in whole organic foods – vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds
- Remember fibre is fuel for your microbiome, a low fibre diet may lead to a reduction in the diversity of your gut flora.
- Reduce all white refined flours, sugars and processed foods
- Reduce alcohol
- Keep a food diary and notice any food intolerances and any foods that irritate the gut
- Seek professional help if you are concerned that you have any gut issues
- Manage stress and remember the gut-brain axis and the impact stress has on our general health
It’s important when embarking on a weight loss program you are engaging all facets that are contributing to your metabolic health. Here at AMC we try and look at all aspects:
Hormonal, Gut flora, Diet, Support, Stress, Exercise and of course Sleep.
Currently we are running a new investigative easy-to-do at home test that identifies your unique gut flora and also allows us to analyse your gut function and see how it impacts on your health and well-being. Once the test results are back – our trained nutritionists and naturopaths will design a protocol for you to get you back on track.
If you are interested in our metabiome test or our weight loss program – please book a free initial consult with one of our trained nutritionists or naturopaths.
- Sanmiguel C, Gupta A, Mayer EA. Gut Microbiome and obesity: A plausible explanation for obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2015 Jun;4(2):250-61. doi: 10.1007/s13679-015-0152-0.
- Metagenics blog – is your gut making you fat; https://blog.metagenics.com.au/is-your-gut-making-you-fat/
- Kresser Ch,The Paleo Cure, Little, Brown and Company,2013, chp 10
- Liang S et al, Recognising depression from the microbiotal-gut-brain Axis, International Journal of molecular sciences. 2018;19(6)
- Cani P.D., Delzenne N.M. Interplay between obesity and associated metabolic disorders: New insights into the gut microbiota. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 2009;9:737–743. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2009.06.016.
- Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Mahowald MA, Magrini V, Mardis ER, Gordon JI. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1027-31. PubMed PMID: 17183312.
- Metagenics Inc. Microbiome and weight management research review utilizing targeted probiotic B. animalis ssp. lactis B420. 2017
- Stenman LK, Lehtinen MJ, Meland N, Christensen JE, Yeung N, Saarinen MT, et al. Probiotic with or without fiber controls body fat mass, associated with serum zonulin, in overweight and obese adults-randomized controlled trial. EBioMedicine. 2016 Nov;13:190-200.
- Buschman H, Bright D. Big Data from World’s Largest Citizen Science Microbiome Project Serves Food for Thought. [Internet]. San Diego (CA): UC San Diego School of Medicine. 2018 [cited 2018 July 05]. Available from: https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2018-05-15-big-data-from-worlds-largest-citizen-science-microbiome-project-serves-food-for-thought.aspx