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How An Unhealthy Gut Microbiome Can Make You Fat

Jul 13, 2018

Science continues to prove that the old adage “you are what you eat” is profoundly true. This is because you have trillions of microorganisms living in your gut, which are directly responsible for nearly every aspect of your health. 

These microbes make up what’s called your, “gut microbiota.” They are especially influential in determining your likelihood of gaining excessive weight, becoming obese, and developing obesity-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and premature death.1 

The gut microbiome (the expressed genes of your gut microbiota) plays a major role in your metabolism through energy production, storage, and expenditure. So, it’s no surprise that science has found a strong connection between dysbiosis (gut microbiome imbalance) and metabolic syndrome. 

Metabolic syndrome includes a cluster of weight-related risk factors, such as:1,2

-High blood sugar

-High blood pressure

-Excess belly fat

-High cholesterol levels

Yikes! If you have the wrong mix of microbes, it could be making it tough for you to get your health on track! 

Did you know: Scientists can actually look at your gut microbiome composition and tell with 90% accuracy if you are obese or lean. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? 3

So, ask yourself… are you:

1. Unable to lose weight and keep it off?

2. Struggling to fight cravings?

3. Sick of starving yourself for weight loss?

4. Baffled as to why no diet seems to really work for you?

Depending on the composition of your gut microbiome, your microbes can either boost your health or weigh you down (figuratively and literally). The good news is this: You have control over these little guys with every bite you eat. Diet has the power to change the landscape of your gut microbiome. 

So, if you’ve tried multiple diets and can’t seem to get the results you want, it’s time to look into your gut microbiome


Will You Lose Weight Naturally on an Individualized Diet?


If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and keep it off – it could be your gut microbiome.

When you follow a Viome personalized nutrition plan, you’re eating in a way that promotes:

-Ideal short chain fatty acid production

-Inflammation reduction

-An increase in beneficial microbial diversity

-Healing a leaky gut

-Proper fuel for beneficial microbes

While Viome doesn’t guarantee weight loss, it has been an exciting result many of our customers have reported. 

Here are a few exciting testimonials Viome customers have shared with us:

Fiona’s update day 37! I feel amazing, and I mean properly amazing, full of energy, my skin is better, I feel more emotionally stable (which is strange because I didn’t feel particularly emotionally unstable before), my shape is still changing even though the scales are still being stubborn (11 lbs off in total!) and my bowels are an efficient working machine.” – Fiona

I’ve lost 13 lbs, my acne is gone (I’m 41), I don’t belch after each meal, my bloating is gone, I don’t have daily headaches, I feel better, I have more energy, I’m not ravenous all of the time...the list could go on and on... I can’t say thank you all enough!” – Emily 

We know weight loss can be tough. Find out if your weight struggles are due to a gut microbiome imbalance with Viome – and let’s tip the scales in your favor. 


3 Ways Your Microbes Influence Your Weight


Your gut microbes actually digest much of your food for you. When your gut microbiota help digest your food, they turn it into nutrients, neurotransmitters, vitamins, hormones, and more. Through these metabolites, the composition of your gut microbiome influences nearly every metabolic activity.

It’s accurate to think of your gut microbiome as an organ that’s part immune system and part energy regulator.

If your gut microbiome is imbalanced, certain bacteria end up working to protect themselves from the harsh environment and are not able to help you. In the worst case scenario, you can have microbiota adding to your health problems, making it harder for you to get healthy and lose weight. 

Viome’s metatranscriptomic technology has allowed us identify microbial pathways and functions, specifically those that influence weight loss or gain. 

Want to dig deeper? 

Here are 3 major mechanisms that affect weight loss or gain through different microbial pathways. 

1. Short Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) Production

Ideally, your microbes are creating the right amount of 3 important short chain fatty acids: 

Butyrate – Butyrate helps combat obesity through increasing satiety (feeling of fullness), and reducing overall inflammation. Low grade inflammation is a big contributor to weight gain.4

Propionate – Similar to butyrate, propionate also helps fight weight gain through stimulating satiety and reducing inflammation.4

Acetate – Acetate is responsible for modulating the production of insulin. Higher insulin levels increase fat storage and prevent the body from releasing it for energy production. Acetate made by microbes actually signals the brain to make more insulin, leading to weight gain.5

Each of these are created from many different substrates (elements found in your food) and play a critical role in regulating your weight. 

Fortunately, Viome’s metatranscriptomic technology can see:

-Which short chain fatty acids are being made

-How much of each one is being produced

-What the microbes are making them from (ie. what foods are being used)

Viome’s recommendations are aimed at influencing the production of these various short chain fatty acids through supplying the right food and supplements. Your recommendations are based on what your microbes are currently doing and what can be done to shift them to function better. 

2. Inflammation

Inflammation is perhaps the most important factor contributing to your current state of health – and low grade inflammation can lead to obesity. In fact, inflammation is a major contributor to the onset and progression of nearly every disease.6 

Guess which part of your body is largely responsible for inflammation? 

You got it – your gut microbiome. 

How does the gut microbiome contribute to inflammation? Here are two important mechanisms:

1) You might be eating too much protein for your bacteria, which can lead to harmful fermentation products like trimethylamine (TMA), trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), and other amines. These products enter the bloodstream and are taken to the liver where they turn on inflammatory responses, leading to increased fat storage and decreased fat export.

Another way of putting it – microbes can create inflammatory byproducts that lead to more fat being stored on your body. This can be caused simply by having the right combination of certain strains while eating too much protein. 

2) Another reason you might have higher inflammation levels is if lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are being expressed by your gut microbes. LPS stimulates the immune system and increases adipogenesis (fat cell creation). If you have dysbiosis, this can cause a “leaky gut,” which increases the amount of LPS in the body as it leaks through the gut lining, increasing your risk for inflammation.

Viome’s recommendations are aimed at reducing inflammation through reducing LPS, harmful byproducts like TMA and TMAO, and healing leaky gut.

3. Gut-Brain Axis Hunger and Satiety Regulation

Your gut microbes talk to your brain along the vagus nerve and influence how much and how often you feel like eating, through neurotransmitter signalling. You might have learned in biology class that neurotransmitters are created by the brain, but it turns out many of them are produced by your gut microbiome. Meaning, your microbes actually send signals to your brain asking for more food or telling it when you’re full. 

If you have certain microbes, it can seem like your gut microbiome is eating out at a Brazilian all-you-can-eat Rodízio steakhouse – they never seem to get full! 

Here are a few ways your microbes can get greedy:

-They can influence ghrelin, leptin, and other peptides involved in controlling food intake and energy expenditure so that you don’t feel full when you should.8

-If you don’t have enough active butyrate producers, this can impact the gut-brain control of appropriate hunger and satiety responses.4

-Your microbes can influence the expression of host genes such as glucagon-like peptide (GLP) and peptide YY (PYY), and in turn regulate satiety via the production and release of digestive enzymes.9

-Low microbiome diversity, high in the genus Firmicutes is strongly associated with obesity. The microbiomes of lean people are typically very diverse (having many species of bacteria). Lean people tend to have a wider variety of the Bacteroidetes species and less Firmicutes.10

Isn’t the influence and complexity of the gut microbiome incredible? 

What’s even more amazing is we can shift this ecosystem towards a healthier state through a specialized diet. 

We don’t mean a calorie restriction kind of “diet” – we mean a individualized set of recommendations designed specifically to decrease the bacteria that can produce potentially toxic metabolites while increasing bacteria that can produce more beneficial products.

Your Viome recommendations are aimed at regulating short chain fatty acid and inflammatory pathways, increasing beneficial diversity, healing leaky gut, and providing the proper fuel for your beneficial microbes. 

There is no universal healthy diet or food due to the unique microbiome ecology, which is why Viome’s truly personalized food plan might be the solution you’ve been looking for!


Resources:


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27991713 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655955/ 
  3. http://cty.jhu.edu/imagine/docs/second-genome.pdf 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22506074/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939913/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25723161 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28925931/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23892476 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3266401/ 
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5187364/ 





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