Übergewicht – liegt die Ursache im Mikrobiom? - myBioma

Obesity – is the cause in the microbiome?

Chronic diseases are increasing rapidly worldwide, with obesity, which means being overweight, being one of the main causes (1). Although there are a variety of methods that attempt to prevent the ever-increasing weight gain, obesity remains a widespread problem. New solutions urgently need to be developed. The diseases associated with obesity such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are among the leading causes of death, so researchers are striving to find new efficient treatments for these diseases (2).

What are the causes of obesity?

A high-calorie diet is a causal factor for obesity and can also lead to changes in the gut microbiome (3). In addition to dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors, it is believed that overweight or obesity can also result from a disruption of the gut microbiome, as an imbalance in the gut, also known as dysbiosis, affects metabolic function and the balance between food intake and energy expenditure (3).

The connection between obesity and the gut microbiome

Or rather: can a disturbed gut flora lead to obesity? It is well known that the gut microbiome has a huge impact on overall health and well-being. The bacteria in the gut influence the absorption, breakdown and storage of nutrients and have potential effects on physiology (1). In addition to high calorie intake, overuse of antibiotics has also been linked to the incidence of obesity (4). An imbalance of the gut microbiome can promote the growth of harmful organisms that can lead to overweight or obesity as well as cause chronic inflammation and thus plays an important role in the prevention of chronic metabolic and intestinal diseases. (5). A balanced gut microbiome, on the other hand, is considered an important factor in the prevention or alleviation of obesity and metabolic diseases (6). The proliferation of beneficial bacteria and the simultaneous reduction of harmful bacteria can therefore contribute to better health and well-being (7).

By the way, you can with that myBioma microbiome analysis You can easily determine from home whether your intestinal microbiome is in balance or whether there is dysbiosis. Based on your results, you will receive scientifically based nutritional recommendations.

The microbiome determines appetite

The intestine is now also referred to as the “ second brain ” because the microorganisms living there communicate directly with the brain and thus influence brain signals that are responsible for stimulating hunger and appetite (8).

Which intestinal bacteria combat obesity?

Most studies have found that the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes is significantly higher in obese individuals (7). In addition, a study was conducted to examine the differences in the gut microbiome between obese and non-obese Japanese subjects. Obese subjects had significantly reduced numbers of Bacteroidetes and a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes compared to non-obese subjects. The diversity of bacteria was also lower in the obese subjects than in the non-obese subjects (9).

A study of obese and lean Chinese college students found a negative correlation between BMI and diversity. Obese male subjects had a less diverse microbiome than people in the lean group. Furthermore, the microbiome composition in lean men was more complex and had a higher ratio of Bacteroides to Firmicutes.

What influence does diet have on weight and the intestinal microbiome?

Different diets have different influences on the composition and diversity of the intestinal microbiome (10). The typical Western diet, which consists of the consumption of highly processed foods, a high intake of saturated fatty acids and sugar, and a low intake of vegetables, fruit and fiber (11), unbalances the intestinal microbiome (12). .

Studies have shown that African children who eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet have higher diversity and fewer disease-causing bacteria. These children also have larger amounts of Bacteroidetes than European children, who have larger amounts of Firmicutes and Enterobacteriaceae ( 13 ).

In contrast, a high-fat, low-fiber diet has been shown to reduce gut microbial diversity and decrease gut bacteria that produce valuable SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) (14, 15). Intake of high-fiber foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and legumes) increased microbial diversity (14, 16) and was associated with reduced weight gain in humans, independent of caloric intake (17).

Additionally, astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants, and the medicinal mushroom Antrodia cinnamomea have been shown to improve the gut microbiome in obese mice caused by a high-fat diet. Both prevented weight gain, improved fat and sugar metabolism, and regulated the balance of the gut microbiome (18, 19) by optimizing the ratio of Bacteroides to Firmicutes and improving Akkermansia (19).

What influence does exercise have on our weight and the intestinal microbiome?

Sports activities have a positive influence on the intestinal microbiome. They promote microbial diversity and also the proliferation of butyrate-producing intestinal bacteria (20). One study compared changes in gut microbial diversity and composition in young adults who engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The study found an increase in microbial diversity, particularly in participants who also ate an adequate amount of fiber per day (21). Furthermore, an increase in Bacteroidetes and a decrease in Firmicutes have been reported in obese adults following aerobic moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (22). This suggests that both exercise and a diet rich in fiber have a positive effect on our “slimming bacteria”.

You can find out more about the connection between exercise and intestinal health in our article: How are the microbiome and exercise related? experience.

Probiotics as a weight loss aid?

When used correctly, probiotics can help to improve the composition of the intestinal flora. From this point of view, taking probiotics can help to reduce the risk of obesity. However, taking probiotics should not be seen as a miracle cure that magically solves all problems. It is more important to focus on a healthy lifestyle and the right diet.

Look at the matter holistically

Finally, several factors influence the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome and can lead to an imbalance that is associated with weight gain and obesity. In particular, diet, physical activity, dietary supplements and medications influence the intestinal microbiome. The influence of the gut microbiome on metabolism, hormonal balance and the brain may play an important role in weight control and the treatment of obesity.

We are already looking forward to further studies. Did you know that you can feed the right bacteria in your intestines and therefore multiply them? Try this recipe: Lentil and vegetable stew: Food for your slimming bacteria . You can also find even more simple and tasty recipes to optimally support your microbiome in the myBioma eBook: Microbiome food – recipes for your slimming bacteria .

Gut microbiome recipes book


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Anni Grimm
Anni Grimm
Food-Enthusiast and Marketing Manager
Anni is not only a marketing ace but also deeply rooted in the fields of nutrition and gut health, knowing all the tips and tricks here!