Losing that extra weight can prove to be a daunting task for those who have been overweight their entire lives. Scientists may have stumbled across a new and easier option for dropping those excess pounds.
Researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital discovered gut microbes in mice were altered after undergoing a gastric bypass surgery. When these microbes were relocated into sterile mice, much to the surprise of the scientists, they experienced rapid weight loss and a decrease in accumulation of fat.
One of the senior authors of this study, Lee Kaplan said, “Our study suggests that the specific effects of gastric bypass on the microbiota contribute to its ability to cause weight loss and that finding ways to manipulate microbial populations to mimic those effects could become a valuable new tool to address obesity.”
The research utilized “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass surgery where doctors surgically shrink the patient’s stomach decreasing the amount of calorie build up. Past studies have uncovered a great deal of information regarding different types of bacteria and Firmicutes.
According to the papers other senior author, Peter Turnbaugh, adding gastric bypass surgery to the experiment changed the entire layout of a mouse’s guts.
Turnbaugh said, “A major gap in our knowledge is the underlying mechanism linking microbes to weight loss. There were certain microbes that we found at higher abundance after surgery, so we think those are good targets for beginning to understand what’s taking place.”
Turnbaugh and his colleagues warn that this study is not conclusive and that duplicating this process in humans may not be possible for a few years. He added that the mice used in this study were not fed diets high in fat and sugar to cause obesity.
“It may not be that we will have a magic pill that will work for everyone who’s slightly overweight,” Turnbaugh added. “But if we can, at a minimum, provide some alternative to gastric bypass surgery that produces similar effects, it would be a major advance.
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