The Flora Within: Obesity Clue
"Good" bacteria in your intestines help keep you healthy. By the same token, derangement of the gut floracan lead to metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, according to Walter Coyle, MD of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California as quoted in MedPage Today. Among those problems are obesity and recurring infections of the gut such as those caused by C. difficile.
Dr. Coyle, speaking at the American College of Physicians' annual meeting, reported that studies have found that obese people tend to have a higher ratio of Firmicutes, one of the two major categories of intestinal bacteria. For example, one study of 12 people who ate a calorie-restricted diet for a year showed that there was no weight loss until the ratio of Firmacutes to Bacteroidetes, the other major category of bacteria, had shifted.
However he also said that "microbione," an emerging science aimed at altering the makeup the microorganisms in the human gut, is "still in its infancy and it remains unclear what changes to make, let alone how best to make them."
Even so, attempts to alter the flora within are underway, including probiotics, prebiotics, and fecal transplant. Dr. Coyle said that he now recommends probiotics to his patients. The other treatment also show promise, especially in fighting infections.