Good figure may also be contagious

What makes some people look slim and others look fat? In addition to diet and genetic factors, the microbiome living in our body may also be partially responsible.

A new study on twins shows that slim people have bacteria that their obese compatriots do not. Whenever possible, these bacteria prevent weight gain. But so far, this research work has been limited to the stage of rat experiments. In addition, these bacteria need to function in a healthy, high-fiber diet. Studies have shown that there is a complex and subtle relationship between diet, microbes, metabolism, and health.

There are at least 400 kinds of bacteria living in the human intestines. There is evidence that it is the presence of these bacteria that constitutes the balance of microorganisms in the human body's ecosystem. Such a balance has a profound impact on brain function and reducing the risk of cancer. A study last year showed that the transfer of intestinal bacteria between humans reduces insulin tolerance, which leads to obesity.

To explore the differences between microbes in obese and slim populations, researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis chose to obtain samples of intestinal bacteria from 4 pairs of identical and dizygotic twins; these twins are all slim individuals The other side is obese. The researchers transplanted these microorganisms into mice without intestinal microorganisms.

Recently, researchers published an article in the "Science" magazine that the mice that obtained the slim individual microorganisms in the twins still maintained a slim body. In contrast, the mice implanted with the microbiota of obese individuals in twins increased their body fat by an average of 10%-even though the two groups of rats in the experiment consumed the same amount of food.

To find out what role the gut bacteria might play, the researchers tried to find the answer from the bacterial genes active in the two mice. The study found that the protein in obese mice is at a higher level in detoxification and stress response; while the slim mice have more genes expressed to participate in the breakdown of dietary fiber.

The mouse experiment also provides a method to test fecal transplantation, which can be used to cure intestinal infections that can be fatal to humans, as well as to treat other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

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