Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science made an unexpected discovery after finding out that intestinal microbes play a significant role in the so-called yo-yo dieting of individuals with persistent weight problems.
According to the researchers, the intestinal microbes, which are collectively known as gut microbiome, are ‘major drivers’ in the accelerated weight gain of individuals after a successful weight loss.
Dr. Eran Elinav of the Immunology Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said: “We’ve shown in obese mice that following successful dieting and weight loss, the microbiome retains a ‘memory’ of previous obesity.”
Prof. Eran Segal of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department, also from the Weizmann Institute of Science, elaborated: “This persistent microbiome accelerated the regaining of weight when the mice were put back on a high-calorie diet or ate regular food in excessive amounts.”
“By conducting a detailed functional analysis of the microbiome, we’ve developed potential therapeutic approaches to alleviating its impact on weight regain.”
The researchers made the conclusion after having proven in a series of experiments that the ‘makeup’ of the microbiome identified with obesity plays an important role in an individual’s regaining of weight.
During the experiments, the researchers administered broad-spectrum antibiotics in the obese mice to deplete the intestinal microbes.
This resulted in the elimination of the ‘exaggerated’ post-diet weight gain in the mice.
In another experiment conducted by the researchers, intestinal microbes from obese subjects were introduced to mice that carry no microbiome, which are also called germ-free mice.
In the same experiment, intestinal microbes from subjects with no history of weight gain were also introduced to a group of germ-free mice.
The subjects were then fed with high-calorie diets.
The results showed accelerated weight gain in the germ-free mice who were carrying intestinal microbes from subjects with history of obesity.
The mice who carried intestinal microbes from subjects with no history of weight gain, on the other hand, showed no signs of accelerated weight gain.
If found effective on humans, the findings on the study may prove to be a breakthrough in the field of medicine.
The research may pave the way for the eradication of persistent weight problems in individuals, therefore completely eliminating the all too common yo-yo dieting problems in individuals who are trying to lose weight.
Eliminating these problems will, in turn, also eliminate a number of weight-related diseases.
“Obesity affects nearly half of the world’s adult population, and predisposes people to common life-risking complications such as adult-onset diabetes and heart disease,” explained Dr. Elinav.
“If the results of our mouse studies are found to be applicable to humans, they may help diagnose and treat recurrent obesity, and this, in turn, may help alleviate the obesity epidemic.”
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