Gut Bacteria may Impact Weight during Childhood and Adolescence

Gut bacteria may impact weight during childhood and adolescence, say investigators, who identified that the population of gut microbes among obese kids and youngsters varies to that of normal-weight youth.

Senior author of present study Dr. Nicola Santoro, and colleagues presented their results in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism.

With respect to the CDC, over the last 3 decades, obesity rates have over doubled in kids and quadrupled in adolescents.

These raising rates have driven a major public health problem; youth who are overweight are more  probably to become obese in adulthood, which may raise their possibility for stroke, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer.

As a result, there is a need to determine approaches that may assist prevent or treat childhood obesity, and investigators think that they may be a step closer to such an approach.

Their research involved 84 kids and adolescents aged 7-20 years, of whom seven were overweight, fifteen were normal weight, were obese, and thirty five were seriously obese.

The investigators examined the gut microbiota – the population of microbes residing in the intestine – and blood samples of all individuals; blood samples were examined for levels of short-chain fatty acids, which are developed by some types of gut bacteria.

Individuals also underweight magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which permitted the investigators to evaluate body fat distribution.

4  gut microbiota groups more abundant in obese kids, teens

From their research, the investigators recognized 8 groups of gut microbiota that were connected with levels of body fat.

4 of the 8 gut microbiota groups were a lot more abundant in kids and teenagers who were obese, the study team reports, and they were identified to digest carbohydrates a lot more effectively than those identified in normal-weight counterparts.

When it came to the remaining 4 gut microbiota groups, the study team identified obese kids and teenagers possessed these in considerably smaller quantities, in comparison with normal-weight peers.

What is more, kids who were obese had greater levels of short-chain fatty acids in their blood than kids who were a regular weight, and the team identified a link between these fatty acids and fat production in the liver.

These outcomes, the investigators say, recommend the liver can turn short-chain fatty acids into fat, and this fat builds up in adipose tissue.

Commenting on their study Dr. Santoro says,

“This link could signal that kids with particular gut bacteria face a long-term risk of developing obesity.”

While these results may not be welcome news, there is a brighter side; Dr. Santoro informed that the outcomes could result in new ways to combat obesity in kids and adolescents.

“These data try to describe the physiopathology behind the relationship among gut flora and obesity. In future, the identification of species underlying this connection might result intargeted therapies.”