Weight Loss May Be Linked To Genetic Makeup Of Gut Bacteria

According to a recent, preliminary study, one’s ability to lose weight could be more contingent on the activities of gut bacteria than anything else.

There’s no running away from the trusty pairing of diet and exercise when weight loss is the aim. But, per a research team from the Mayo Clinic, one could still struggle to shed those pounds even after sticking to a strict diet and exercise routine.

The researchers are claiming that the bacteria in your gut could get in the way of your fitness goals as their ability to break down complex food particles and hand you extra energy could be bad for some individuals, even if it’s good for most.


“Gut bacteria have the capacity to break down complex food particles, which provides us with additional energy,” said Vandana Nehra, M.D, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and a co-senior author of the study, via ScienceDaily. “And this is normally good for us. However, for some individuals trying to lose weight, this process may become a hindrance.”

The research team obtained and analyzed data from 26 participants enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Obesity Treatment Research Program back in 2013. They found that the gut bacteria were different in persons who lost weight and those who didn’t. The bacteria Phascolarctobacterium was linked with successful weight loss while the bacteria Dialister was present in subjects who were unable to lose weight.

The increased ability to use certain carbohydrates was also associated with difficulty losing weight.

Dr. Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, also a co-senior author of the study said: “We know that some people don’t lose weight as effectively as others, despite reducing caloric consumption and increasing physical activity.

“This suggested to us that gut bacteria may possibly be an important determinant of weight loss in response to diet and lifestyle changes. While we need to replicate these findings in a bigger study, we now have an important direction to pursue in terms of potentially providing more individualized strategies for people who struggle with obesity.”

If true, this does explain a lot. But it’s also quite scary as nothing is more discouraging than being unable to affect your own weight despite eating right and exercising regularly.


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