Washington, March 28 (IANS) Scientists have shown that tinkering with bugs present normally in the gut could provide a tool to weight-loss, says a study, giving new hope to people trying to fight the battle of the bulge.
New research, conducted by Harvard scientists in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has found that the gut microbes of mice undergo drastic changes following gastric bypass surgery. Transfer of these microbes into sterile mice resulted in rapid weight loss. The study is described in a March 27 paper in Science Translational Medicine.
“Simply by colonizing mice with the altered microbial community, the mice were able to maintain a lower body fat, and lose weight — about 20 percent as much as they would if they underwent surgery,” said Peter Turnbaugh, a Bauer Fellow at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Center for Systems Biology, and one of two senior authors of the paper.
“Our study suggests that the specific effects of gastric bypass on the microbiota contribute to its ability to cause weight loss and that finding ways to manipulate microbial populations to mimic those effects could become a valuable new tool to address obesity,” said Lee Kaplan, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at MGH,and the other senior author of the paper.