There are around 3,500 microbial species in our intestines that need regular feeding and they are all quite fussy about what they like! Although our genes largely dictate what types of microbes inhabit our gut, a junk food diet lacking in variety affects whether these health-promoting bacteria thrive. If they are starved of quality and variety and consequently wiped out, they are unable to protect their human hosts against obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, inflammatory bowel conditions and autism.
Our genetic makeup influences whether we are fat or thin by shaping which types of microbes thrive in our body, according to a study by researchers at King’s College London and Cornell University.
By studying pairs of twins at King’s Department of Twin Research, researchers identified a specific, little known bacterial family that is highly heritable and more common in individuals with low body weight. This microbe also protected against weight gain when transplanted into mice.
The results, published today in the journal Cell, could pave the way for personalised probiotic therapies that are optimised to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases based on an individual’s genetic make-up…
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