I wanted to share with you some interesting research that I have been looking at around gut health and weight loss. The concept of weight being related to gut health first came about in the early 2000's when researchers inoculated germ-free mice with the microbiome of conventional mice. What they discovered was that once the mice had the new gut flora they instantly put on weight, and became insulin resistant, even when they were fed less food and were made to exercise more. This discovery led researchers to the theory that our gut flora, in fact help us to capture more energy from our food. But before you go reaching for the antibiotics to decimate your gut flora, remember, our microbiome is our friend!
So, in an attempt to find out more, researchers took healthy lean mice and inoculated obese mice (and yes when I say inoculated, I mean they took the blended up poo from one mouse and inserted it into the bottom of another) …ok, are you still with me? The results were astonishing, the obese mice become skinnier, their blood pressure came down, their insulin sensitivity increased, and their blood sugars stabilised.
So, what was the difference between the two groups of mice? When researchers looked into this they found that obese mice had a reduction of a genre of bacteria called Bacteroidetes, and an increase in Firmicutes. In follow up investigations it was discovered that the Firmicutes in obese mice were interacting with the body in a way that caused a rise in blood pressure, a rise in cholesterol and blood lipids, interfered with the hormones that help us feel full, and created inflammation in the body by playing havoc with the immune system.
What’s more they found that this can be changed by diet. A change from a whole food diet rich in plant starches and fibres to a typical junk food diet changed the microbiome of the mice to the “obese microbiome” within one day. The good news is, that this change can occur the other way as well. In fact, just by adding in some plant based starches and fibres you can protect against the effects of junk food.
Not only that, in human studies it’s been demonstrated that adding in specific species of probiotics produces weight loss, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, decreased inflammation, improved fasting blood glucose and increased insulin sensitivity.
The specific strains that have been studied and found to have benefit are:
Bifidobacterium lactis HNO19
Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5
Bifidobacterium animalis BB12
L. delbrueckii subsp.
While you can get hold of these in a capsule, my advice is to incorporate probiotics into a healthy diet. This can be done by using these specific strains in your fermented foods, or mixing an open capsule into your daily yogurt. You can learn how to make your own "functional foods" by signing up to one of my fermentation parties.
Or come in to see me for a tailored weight loss plan.
Melanie Turner, Naturopath, mother, gardener, lover of wholesome food