Gut Microbes Linked to Obesity

The human gastrointestinal tract contains more than 100 trillion microbes. Imbalances in gut microbes have been linked to obesity, the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, immune system breakdown, bad breath, gum disease, coronary artery disease, cancer, back pain, allergies and autism— according to a literature review by Davide Festi and colleagues from the University of Bologna in Italy. Obese and lean humans have different gut microbe populations, which might account for individual differences in weight gain and low-grade inflammation. Bacteria-laden foods called probiotics, containing bacteria such as Lactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacteria may be the next big health food craze because they stabilize the microbe population in the gut. Exercise also alters the gut microbes, which promotes weight loss. (World Journal Of Gastroenterology, 20: 16078-16094, 2014)

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