07 Feb Human Microbiome and Obesity
Intestinal microbiome (formerly called intestinal flora) is the name given today for the entire microbial population living in our gut.
It has been known for decades that gut bacteria synthesize vitamins and essential amino acids and help to eliminate toxins. In addition, many genes in the human microbiome produce various proteins, hormones, neurotransmitters and inflammatory mediators that can enter the circulation and affect health at multiple levels.
The first major microbial research was published in 2006 in the scientific review “Nature”. At the Medical School of the University of Washington, a research team headed by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon has shown that an obese person’s intestine has a different microbial composition than a person with normal body weight. So the microbial population and any changes in it can contribute to weight gain.
Recent studies – both in human and animal models, have shown that obesity is related inter alia to changes in the intestinal microbial flora. Studies on the effect of overweight on intestinal bacterial populations have shown changes in the gastrointestinal microbiome, while changes in this have been observed in weight fluctuations. It has also been found that intestinal microbiome affects insulin resistance, inflammatory processes and obesity through interactions with epithelial and endocrine cells.
The composition of the microbial of the human intestine and its metabolic activities are regulated via nutrition and, reciprocally, host metabolism and metabolites also interact with the intestinal microbe and diet, forming a complex network of intestinal interaction. Several factors can affect human intestinal microbial flora, with diet being a very important one. Not only dietetic standards (eg vegetarian vs meals including meat) and specific foods but also food ingredients (eg fibers provide substrates for intestinal microbial metabolism) and food-related common microbes are not involved.
Hyperglycemia (HG) and elevated levels of free fatty acids (FFA), which are a trademark of Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes Mellitus, as a diet of an increased fat content and high glycemic load could lead to increased activation of the inflammatory complex (the cataract of inflammatory processes) as well as increased macrophage activation by mediating changes in intestinal flora (A disorder in the balance between beneficial and pathogenic bacterial strains – “intestinal dyscrasia”).
Specific and targeted laboratory tests such as the molecular metabolic profile (measurement of urinary metabolites in order to detect micronutrient deficiencies, mitochondrial dysfunction, gastrointestinal dysfunction, synthesis disorders and neurotransmitter function), the gastro intestinal mapping (complete inventory of intestinal flora, analysis of results and correlation of concentrations of probiotics with pathogens, in order to produce an individualized dosage from the necessary microbes and not all of them) as well as “translational medicine” (applications of translational science in daily practice and link between laboratory findings and clinical application) – are very useful tools in investigating the Functional aspects of the intestinal microbe.
In addition, with targeted and personalized dietary intervention through Molecular Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements that also aim at restoring intestinal dysbiosis, we can help significant patients with weight management problems.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).