Weight and Gut Bacteria May Be Linked

Gut bacteria composition may differ in obese and healthy-weight youth

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(RxWiki News) Your size and your gut bacteria may be linked, a new study of children and teenagers found.

And that could mean new or improved treatments for obesity in the future, the study authors said.

“Our findings show children and teenagers with obesity have a different composition of gut flora than lean youth,” said senior study author Nicola Santoro, MD, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University, in a press release. “This suggests that targeted modifications to the specific species composing the human microbiota could be developed and could help to prevent or treat early-onset obesity in the future.”

This study looked at 84 children and teens. Some groups of gut bacteria did well in children and teens who were obese, while others did better in those with normal weight.

These differing groups of gut bacteria tended to have different effects. For example, the gut bacteria that was found in children and teens who were obese had a higher capability to ferment carbohydrates.

Some gut bacteria can produce types of short chain fatty acids that can be converted to fat within the liver and build up in the fat tissue. “This association could signal that children with certain gut bacteria face a long-term risk of developing obesity," Dr. Santoro said.

It is important to note this study was small which is a limitation. 

Talk to your child's doctor about how to help your child maintain a healthy weight.

This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

The American Heart Association, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, the Allen Foundation and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences funded this research. The study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Last Updated:
September 27, 2016