September 05, 2014

Low-carb diets, juice cleanses, intense circuit-training – people have tried almost everything to lose the extra pounds, but 70% of Americans are still either overweight or obese.
Instead of turning to external solutions, maybe it’s time to look inside ourselves.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered that the big, complex problem of weight gain may be treatable with a microscopic solution.
“For a long time, we either thought of the bacteria in our gut as our enemy or something that was just there and didn’t matter,” says senior investigator Sean Davies.

Now, he says, people are beginning to understand that gut bacteria “can have a very meaningful impact on our health, both detrimentally, but also beneficially.”
The scientists genetically modified probiotic bacteria – similar to the kind you hear about all the time in yogurt commercials – and gave it to mice that were being fed a high-fat diet.
Mice who got the bacteria experienced positive effects, including less weight gain and a less fatty liver.

So can we expect more probiotic-laced weight loss pills in our local drug store soon?

Davies says that because the bacteria are genetically modified, there are significant regulatory hurdles. But in the next decade, these probiotics could be making an impact in the market. "This approach is one more thing that we can add to our arsenal.”

gut bacteria, weight loss, Vanderbilt University, Sean Davies, Sci and Tech

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