The latest research conducted by scientists in Britain reveals that there’s a connection between the diversity of bacteria in human poo (the human fecal microbiome) and the amount of harmful body fat. According to the researchers this could be a step towards understanding why obesity is genetically predisposed in many cases and why it runs in families. They revealed that having a significantly lower range of fecal bacteria is linked to high levels of visceral fat, a condition which often leads to chronic diseases. Visceral fat is dangerous because it’s the fat that surrounds some of the major organs such as the liver, intestines and pancreas and high levels of this fat increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. According to the study published in the journal Genome Biology on Monday, people with a wide range of bacteria in their feces, on the other hand, had lower levels of visceral fat. The study examined feces samples from 1313 twins which were already a part of another study named Twins UK. The scientists first extracted DNA information from the samples about the presence of fecal microbes which they later compared to 6 obesity measures like BMI, visceral and other fat levels, including lower to upper body fat ratio. They concluded that the strongest connection is between fecal bacteria and visceral fat.
The study leader at King’s College in London, Michelle Beaumont, said that the study revealed “a clear link between bacterial diversity in feces and markers of obesity and cardiovascular risk.” She also mentioned that even though the findings are clear we have to have in mind the fact that this was an observational study and it doesn’t give conclusive information about how gut and fecal bacteria might affect fat. Another researcher from King’s twin research department, Jordana Bell, added that there’s a need for further research on the topic so that they could better understand how gut microbes affect our health. This could potentially reveal new approaches to preventing obesity, which is a major discovery if we take into account how many people suffer from this condition in the US alone.
Additional research could also aid in examining a new possible role for treatments like fecal transplants – which are now only used for patients suffering from an infection called C.difficile colitis to replace their unhealthy fecal microbiome with a healthy one from a donor.