Weight regain blamed on gut microbiome
medwireNews: A mouse study published in Nature suggests that changes in the gut microbiome may underlie vulnerability to rapid weight regain following a cycle of obesity and weight loss.
However, the researchers stress that this is probably just one of many mechanisms underpinning dieters’ failure to maintain their weight loss, saying that “the reasons for this failure are likely complex and include contributions [from] a multitude of behavioral, genetic, environmental, and metabolic factors.”
The team found that the expression of 773 bacterial genes was persistently altered after mice were taken off a high-fat diet, requiring 21 weeks to return to normal – markedly longer than the 4-week high-fat diet period. Fecal transplant from previously obese mice with an altered gut microbiome enhanced weight gain in control mice fed a high-fat diet, whereas receipt of a healthy microbiome during the weight-loss phase attenuated subsequent weight regain, indicating a likely causal role.
Using a two-step machine learning algorithm based on obesity history and gut microbiome, Eran Elinav (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel) and study co-authors were able to predict with high accuracy how much weight mice would regain.
The researchers narrowed the effects of the gut microbiota down to changes in two dietary flavonoids – apigenin and naringenin – levels of which remained suppressed for up to 15 weeks after weight loss. Oral treatment of the mice with these flavonoids suppressed weight regain, implicating them “as novel therapeutics in the quest for effective long-term weight management solutions.”
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