Is There A link Between Gut Bacteria And Weight Loss ?
Courtesy of Atlas Biomed
There’s no such thing as skinny bacteria or fat microbes, but your gut bugs still help regulate metabolism, nutrient absorption, and weight management. It can be frustrating to watch friends eat whatever they like, do very little exercise, and still look fit. Yet, it might not just be amazing metabolic powers, because gut bacteria and body weight are linked in many ways. Read on to find out how. Table of contents
Gut bacteria and weight loss Your gut microbes may help you to maintain a healthy body shape and even hold the answer to why some of us are protected from obesity. Your large intestine is a haven for trillions of mutually beneficial microbes that make up your gut microbiota. These gut bacteria form an ecosystem involved in vital functions like metabolism, hunger, and digestion. Even though it doesn’t always receive the recognition it deserves because humanity has feared microbes since their discovery, your microbiome is important for many aspects of your body, including your weight. In particular, a diverse gut microbiome is beneficial for your health. That's because different types of bacteria perform a variety of jobs in your colon, and thus, microbial diversity helps control your metabolism and in turn, your body weight. What is gut microbiome dysbiosis? However, if your intestinal environment is imbalanced, it can cause what is known as dysbiosis, and that’s not good for anyone. It can mean that you have lower levels of beneficial bacteria, more opportunistic pathogens, or reduced diversity – all of which can have an impact on your body. Altogether, this can negatively impact your health and may even explain why you put on weight more easily than other people. But like your weight, gut microbial health is also influenced by your lifestyle. That’s right, food and exercise are also important for the diversity of your gut bacteria.
Microbes for weight loss: do they exist? Search for skinny gut bacteria and you’ll actually read about microbes that reinforce the gut lining and modulate your metabolism. Two gut bacteria are associated with lean body weight. Akkermansia muciniphila and Christensenella minuta are good gut bacteria for weight loss because they are linked with preventing weight gain and are often found in slim individuals.
Akkermansia can feed on the mucus that lines your gut, promoting its production which strengthens your intestinal barrier (a weaker gut lining is detected in people with obesity). These microbes also produce acetate, a short-chain fatty acid that helps regulate body fat stores and appetite. You can try boost the abundance of A. muciniphila with prebiotic foods that fuel their activities. You probably eat some of these anyway, but increasing your intake could help the growth of Akkermansia in your gut and enhance your protection against obesity.
Foods to boost Akkermansia
Christensenella is also an emerging gut microbe associated with weight control. Like Akkermansia, it is abundant in the microbiomes of lean people, and scientists think it could be promising for preventing obesity, which is now considered a global health epidemic. Christensenella is associated with your genetic makeup, meaning that to some extent, you have higher chances of finding this bacterium in your gut if your relatives have them too. Some people don't have them, and that's okay. Only a microbiome test can accurately check your gut bacteria So if your Atlas Microbiome Test didn't detect any, don't worry. You can still have a healthy microbiome without them because there are lots of other beneficial and probiotic bacteria that help regulate your metabolism. However, strictly speaking, there are no weight loss bacteria. Instead, there is evidence that microbes indirectly act on our body fat composition. Researchers are already investigating how to manipulate gut health for weight loss purposes, so more findings are likely to emerge very soon. ☝️FACT☝️There’s no such thing as fat bacteria or skinny bacteria, what matters is microbiome composition, beneficial microbes, and functions.
How to change gut bacteria to lose weight Beneficial gut microbes are happy to trade plant-based foods and healthy fats for their health-promoting services. Getting 30g of fiber every day from plants of different colours (think red peppers, orange pumpkin, purple carrots, etc.) may also help diversify your microbiota which is good for your overall health. This was shown by the results of the American Gut Project, in which people who ate 30 plant foods of different colours per week had the greatest microbiota diversity. You can read more about these foods in our guides:
Rainbow plant foods contain many different phytonutrients, like polyphenols, that help the body prevent free radical damage and inflammation. They also contain a variety of fibers for gut health. Both of these also nourish beneficial bacteria in the microbiota.
Gut health and weight gain: food matters So, we now know two types of bacteria that prevent obesity, but what about gut bacteria and weight gain? Simply put, what you eat is a huge factor. In fact, changing your diet won't just change your weight, it's the fastest way to change your microbes too. There are links between gut bacteria and weight. The gut microbiota of individuals who are overweight show patterns of dysbiosis compared to healthy individuals. Ultimately, this is associated with inflammation and increased blood sugar levels because there is a greater extraction of energy from food. Equally, these two factors are linked to being overweight or obese, and so to is the Western diet because of its high levels of sugar and fat.
What's going on with gut bacteria and weight gain? Research has also shown that following a natural plant-based diet reduces calorie intake, increases weight loss, and lowers metabolic markers. It also nourishes beneficial gut bacteria because plants contain lots of different prebiotic fibers. In a study involving type II diabetes patients, a vegan diet was shown to be more effective at controlling blood sugar levels than a usual diabetic diet. And, in the plant diet group, calorie intake was lower, which meant weight loss was more rapid. Interestingly, the beneficial bacteria that thrive on plant foods are also associated with better blood sugar control.
Bad gut bacteria and weight gain: antibiotics Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome can result from other factors too, like antibiotics. This type of medication is linked to weight gain because they disrupt the microbial communities in your gut, either by preventing and slowing bacterial growth, or killing them. Yet, the link between antibiotics and weight gain isn’t really a secret. Industrial agriculture has known for decades that low doses of antibiotics can encourage animals destined for meat consumption to gain weight faster. This experiment that has been replicated in mice, who share many similar microbiome and biological traits with humans. These findings have led scientists to beli