You Might Want To Start Considering Your Gut, If You Want To Lose It.

The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014.

While the most frequent cause of obesity is an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, the gut microbiota plays a significant role in influencing whole-body metabolism by affecting energy balance, inflammation and gut barrier function.

Probiotics and prebiotics contribute to the health of gut microbiota, which in turn can affect food intake, appetite, body weight/composition and metabolic functions.

This week’s blog summarizes the findings summarized in a  review published in Nutrition & Metabolism (2016) 13:14 by Kobyliak et al.

Given the worldwide prevalence of obesity, you might want to start considering your gut if you want to lose it.

The intestinal microflora is a metabolic gateway to the modulation of inflammation, energy metabolism and body weight homeostasis.

The Gut Microflora represents a complex ecosystem consisting of trillions of microorganisms and thousands of bacterial species that are deeply involved in different functions of metabolism

A  link between intestinal microflora and  metabolism was first provided when a study with mice demonstrated that transplanting the intestinal microflora from obese mice could replicate the obese phenotype in germ-free mice. I.E. The germ-free mice became fat.

It was later found that differences in intestinal microflora composition between humans seem to represent a key factor affecting energy homeostasis.

In overweight/obese humans, low bacterial diversity has been associated with more marked overall adiposity and dyslipidaemia (Abnormal cholesterol and Triglycerides), impaired glucose homeostasis and low-grade inflammation.

Intestinal microflora composition is strongly affected by one’s diet.  A high-fat and high-sugar diet increases the relative abundance of Firmicutes (obesogenic microbes- weight gain) at the expense of the Bacteroidetes (Leptogenic microbes- weight loss). A low-calorie diet induced weight loss may increase the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes in obese individuals.

In general,  having a healthier dietary pattern consisting of higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, yogurt and soups and lower consumption of sweets, refined carbohydrates, table sugar and sugary drinks, will result in a less pronounced metabolic impairment and greater diversity in  intestinal microflora, despite a  difference in total energy intake and can lead to weight loss.

The mechanisms by which the intestinal microflora may affect body weight include:

  1. The intestinal microflora of obese subjects may be more efficient at extracting energy from a given diet than the intestinal microflora of lean individuals which may lead to increased energy storage and adiposity
  2. The production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) from indigestible polysaccharides. SCFAs  produced by bacterial fermentation function as energy substrates, as well as regulators of satiety and food intake
  3. Several hormones known as peptides suppress gut motility and retard intestinal transit, allowing for greater nutrient absorption
  4. The increased use of antibiotic treatment may be associated with weight gain or obesity in humans due to alterations in intestinal microflora function and/or composition and metabolic derangements tightly linked to obesity, such as insulin resistance, atherosclerosis and low-grade chronic inflammation

Chronic low-grade inflammation appears to be a major factor in the development of obesity-related metabolic disturbances.

BBM is the messenger for BlackBerry but is now expanding to Android, iOS, and other platforms. It remains one of the best IM apps out there. BBM for Android Download Learn How to Install BBM App for Android from Android Store. Stay Connected with Friends.

The combination of a  high fat/high refined Standard American Diet (SAD) results in low-grade chronic inflammation via visceral fat deposition, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.


  • Lifestyle modifications still remain the primary therapy for obesity and the related metabolic disorders
  • Multifactorial (diet, weight loss, lifestyle modification) approaches are the ideal strategy for obesity treatment and should include strategies to manipulate the gut microbiota
  • Modulation of gut microbiota by probiotic treatment or dietary intervention can affect body weight, glucose and fat metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce chronic systemic inflammation
  • Human studies report health benefits with supplementing Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium strains


Good Foods For Your Gut

  • Organic plain yogurt
  • Kombucha (I like the GT’s Organic Raw Gingerade)
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Miso Paste
  • Pickles
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables




About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin