A FACTOR IN THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT
What is the microbiome? This is the 1.5kg by weight of bacteria that lives in our colons. We used to think of them as an oddity, perhaps a remnant of our evolutionary history such as the appendix. There is now increasing evidence that the microbiome is a living and breathing organ in its own right, interacting with and modulating our immune system.
Abnormality of the microbiome has been implicated in everything from mental illness and behavioural disturbances to autoimmune diseases. Recently, there has been a link between an unhealthy gut microbiome and obesity. Faecal transplant has been used to transfer favourable bacteria from a healthy host to the colon of an unwell patient. When faeces from an obese patient was accidentally transferred to a thin patient, the thin patient became obese. This was replicated in mouse studies. This tells us a few things:
- The microbiome itself can be an important factor in the obesity epidemic.
- Our unhealthy modern lifestyles have resulted in a gut microbiome that makes it more likely for humans to become overweight or obese.
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