Obesity – How Intestinal Bacteria May Cause Weight Gain

If you are obese, you very well know how difficult it is to get rid of the fat that is accumulated at the midsection of the body. Most people end up with love handles around the midsection as they approach middle age, and these are very difficult to lose.

Obesity and weight loss has always fascinated scientists all over the world. That is why a lot of research is done on these two subjects. Some recent research has found some clues as to why people who are obese tend to put on weight around their belly. According to researchers, the intestines have millions of bacteria, and it is these bacteria which tend to play a role as to where the fat should be stored in the body.

Researchers found in laboratory settings that mice, which did not have a particular protein, tended to have more intestinal bacteria compared to other animals. In addition, they had fifteen percent more weight. This fascinated the researchers and egged to try and figure out what the connection was between intestinal bacteria and weight.

On further research, the scientists found the mice also had inflammation of the intestines which is a precursor to metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is the main cause for weight gain, high blood cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and also causes an increased risk of getting heart disease as well as diabetes.

Through research, scientists figured out that when the particular protein, known as toll like receptor-5, is missing, the number of bacteria increases tremendously in the intestine. The body then starts tackling the excessive number of bacteria and therefore, tends to ignore the insulin in the body. As a result the cells become less sensitive to insulin and this leads to metabolic syndrome, which in turn causes health issues like high levels of triglyceride, elevated blood pressure and weight gain.

As the mice become resistant to insulin, they tended to eat more than mice that did not have the resistance. When the researchers transferred the bacteria animals that did not have any problems, they too showed the signs of increased appetite.

Although this research was just conducted on mice, scientists believe that the same process also takes place in the human body.