Bacteria in the gut could help prevent obesity and related type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on May 16, 2013

Bacteria in the gut could help prevent obesity and related type 2 diabetes

Bacteria in the gut could help prevent obesity and related type 2 diabetes

Increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut could hold clues to helping prevent obesity and related disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Research by scientists at the University of Leuven in Belgium has found that levels of good bacteria are much lower in the intestines of obese humans and mice as well as those with type 2 diabetes.

In particular, a gut bacterium known as Akkermansia muciniphila seems to be particularly beneficial in restoring normal levels. Working with a group of mice the researchers found that by feeding them live Akkermansia muciniphila and prebiotic foods that encourage the growth of gut microbes they lost weight. The treated mice also improved their fat to body mass ratio, and reduced their resistance to insulin, according to the research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

Restoring normal levels of Akkermansia muciniphila also led to increased intestinal levels of endocannabinoids, signalling molecules that help to control blood glucose levels and defend the gut against harmful microbes. Team leader Professor Patrice Cani said that the findings indicate that this type of bacteria may play an important role in gut barrier function, metabolic inflammation and fat storage.

He also suggested that the discovery could pave the way for new treatments to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions. ‘These results provide a rationale for the development of a treatment that uses this human mucus coloniser for the prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders,’ he explained.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “Bacteria in the intestine can produce bio chemicals and hormones that could stop diabetes developing, scientists have found. Research groups in Canada and Switzerland have now shown that the influence of the intestinal bacteria extends even deeper inside the body than was previous thought.”

Unlike probiotics, which are live bacteria products which add healthy flora to the gut, prebiotics do not replace bacteria but help feed and maintain levels of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are a form of natural, indigestible starch found in small quantities in banana, onions, leeks, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes and can be added to a wide selection of foods.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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