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Originally published January 26 2010

Bacteria in the Gut are Shown to Reduce Obesity

by Melanie Grimes

(NaturalNews) New research has shown that the bacteria in our gut can be a cause of obesity. The human gut is filled with health-giving bacteria, which provide energy, nutrients and digestive aids. Maintaining proper gut flora is important to health. Research has now demonstrated that the amount and type of bacteria in your digestive tract can reduce obesity, and not just improve digestion.

A study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri investigated the digestive tract of fat and thin people. There are over 5,000 bacterial species in the human gut, and many which have not been identified. The three dominant family groups, or phyla, in the human gut are Fimicutes, Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Previous research has shown that a proper ratio between the Fimicutes and the Bacteriodetes is necessary in order to maintain good health. As we age, this ratio changes and might be one of the causes of adult onset obesity.

New research discovered that obese people had higher amounts of Firmicutes. Lean people had higher amounts of Bacteriodetes. When obese people were put on fat reducing diets, the ratio of bacteria in their gut changed, corresponding to the same ratio of bacteria in the guts of the lean people; that is, the amount of Bacteriodetes increased as the obese subjects lost weight.

Aids to restore proper digestive flora can include adding probiotics to the diet. Fermented foods contain nutrients that aid this process as well. This includes foods such as dairy products of yogurt and kefir, as well as pickles, sauerkraut, miso, and chutney. Sourdough bread and other products that use a starter, such as kombuchu, contain healthy organisms that feed the gut flora.

Eating raw food and staying hydrated also help proper digestion. Some people have difficulty digesting raw foods when they are first introduced, and a digestive enzyme can help with this. Raw food contains many enzymes and nutrients that are not available from any other source.

Probiotics are known to also increase immunity and help prevent colds and flu so it is important to take probiotics daily, especially during flu season. If probiotic consumption causes gas or bloating, it is suggested that it be taken on an empty stomach. Sources such as yogurt or kefir can be eaten alone or with other foods.

About the author

Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
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