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Scientists found a bacteria that could keep you from overeating

Published Dec 21st, 2020 3:43PM EST
gut bacteria
Image: pogonici/Adobe

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  • A bacteria has been identified as playing a big role in regulating triggers for hunger in obese individuals, according to a new study.
  • The bacteria can actually reduce hunger cravings by keeping blood glucose levels in check and the hunger hormone ghrelin.
  • The study demonstrated that the bacteria could reduce the body mass of obese mice and control hormone levels in humans as well.

For people with type 2 diabetes or those who are significantly overweight in general, dieting can seem like a monumental undertaking. For those who eat a lot of sugary foods or simple carbs, it can feel like an addiction, with your brain telling you to eat more even as you try to reason against it and push back.

Now, scientists have discovered a microscopic ally that might make a real difference for individuals that struggle with their weight and even those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. It’s a strain of bacteria that researchers say has the ability to modulate blood glucose and keep hunger hormones in check, making it a powerful tool in the management of type 2 diabetes as well as a potential aid for individuals struggling with obesity.

In the study, which was published in EBioMedicine, the researchers draw links between human gut bacteria and overall health, including the development of obesity and, in many cases, the eventual onset of type 2 diabetes. The link between gut microbiota and health — both physical and mental — has gained a lot of attention in recent years, and in this particular case, the scientists used mouse models to predict potential outcomes in humans, then tested the same treatments on people as well.

The researchers write:

The human gut microbiota has emerged as a key factor in the development of obesity. Certain probiotic strains have shown anti-obesity effects. The objective of this study was to investigate whether Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 has anti-obesity effects in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice and whether B. longum APC1472 supplementation reduces body-mass index (BMI) in healthy overweight/obese individuals as the primary outcome.

The supplementation of the bacteria Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 showed clear benefits in mouse studies. It demonstrated the ability to stabilize blood glucose levels and control levels of ghrelin and cortisol, two hormones associated with hunger and stress. In the mouse studies, the bacteria strain even helped to prevent the mice from gaining as much weight as they may have otherwise.

When translating the treatment to humans, the researchers found benefits, though not exactly the same as they appeared in the rodent study. The bacterial strain did indeed help to stabilize blood glucose and the potentially troublesome hormones, but it didn’t appear to have an impact on how much weight an individual gained. Nevertheless, the fact that it showed powerful effects on blood glucose suggests it could be useful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

This study shows a positive translational effect of B. longum APC1472 on fasting blood glucose from a preclinical mouse model of obesity to a human intervention study in otherwise healthy overweight and obese individuals. This highlights the promising potential of B. longum APC1472 to be developed as a valuable supplement in reducing specific markers of obesity.

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