The composition of the intestinal flora apparently can determine whether a person is thin or overweight. and that what makes this a fascinating topic. In recent years we discovered that the number of intestinal bacteria is ten times greater than the total cells of the body. And more recent studies show that the symbiosis goes beyond just the production of vitamins and amino acids. But the intestinal bacteria also influence the availability of nutrients for absorption through the mucous membrane.
Many scientists now believe that they will play a major role in the medicine of the future. They want to use them to make people healthier, by changing the composition of the intestinal flora.
Obesity is a catastrophe on a global scale
For the first time in history, there are more obese people in the world than underweight people. According to WHO Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. mankind has gained more than 1.5 kilos per decade within 40 years. On average, of course.
Researchers warn of the obesity epidemic: Harvard Professor Ezzati. Together with hundreds of international scientists, he evaluated around 1,700 population studies and their conclusion is terrifying. In ten years, almost every fifth inhabitant of the earth is likely to be morbidly overweight.
Another alarming study at Harvard University states that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents is on the rise, and youth are becoming overweight and obese at earlier ages. One out of six children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are obese and one out of three are overweight or obese.
Obesity itself is not a disease, however, there is a lot of secondary diseases associated with obesity: diabetes, arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke and other problems like reduced fertility, hormonal changes, liver diseases, breathing interruptions during sleep and one Increased cancer risk for the intestine, uterus, breast, prostate, and bladder.
In addition, the psychological aspect is also affected. Studies prove that obesity is associated with depression. besides, people with obesity repeatedly experience social exclusion and have fewer opportunities in the job market.
From an economic point of view, the increase in obesity in society also contributes significantly to additional costs in the health system.
With all that, it becomes clear why obesity is a very serious problem and can be categorized as a catastrophe on a global scale
How can the gut microbiome influence body weight?
The intestinal flora apparently plays a major role in determining body weight and the development of metabolic disorders.
From an evolutionary point of view, the role of these bacteria was a crucial factor in human survival. Especially when the risk of malnutrition is higher. It was a survival advantage to have a digestive system with bacteria, that can optimize the use of food. So we get more energy out of food. but now it is rather counterproductive to get even more energy out of food when we already eat too much. And so these bacteria can cause obesity.
So basically these bacteria are digestive aids. They produce enzymes that break down non-usable food components – such as fiber, into components that the body can absorb. It is now clear that the microbes also act as training partners for the immune system and thus ensure that the body’s defenses develop properly. The tasks are so diverse that the microbiome is now often referred to as an “organ in an organ” or even a “super organ”.
Fattening bacteria vs weight loss helpers bacteria
Scientists in the journal “Nature” say that the diversity of gut flora is important. If the diversity in the digestive tract is low, the probability of obesity and insulin resistance increases.
But generally, there are two types of bacteria. If you have too many firmicutes, let’s call it called fattening bacteria the weight loss would be much harder. This type of bacteria tries to prepare you for tough periods of hunger by getting the maximum calories out of even the smallest crumb of food, helping you to put on a protective layer of fat.
Bacteroidetes are the complete opposite, they are the hard-working weight loss helpers. Because they’re less able to utilize fat. And that can be very advantageous when it comes to achieving your desired weight loss goals. With a larger number of Bacteroidetes in the intestine, the energy stored in fat cells is lower.