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How Gut Bacteria Influence Your Metabolism

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

gut bacteria and metabolism

Story at-a-glance -

  • Any given individual will have around 160 different species of bacteria colonizing their gut. This individual combination is known as your gut microbiome, and can have a tremendous influence on health and well-being
  • Obesity is associated with as much as a 40% decrease in bacterial diversity. Improving diversity through probiotic supplementation can help resolve metabolic defects, resulting in fat loss
  • Research has demonstrated that probiotics — beneficial bacteria found in fermented and cultured foods such as yogurt — have a measurable effect on several metabolic pathways
  • A link has also been found between bowel movements and obesity; 8.5% of obese and 11.5% of severely obese individuals reported chronic diarrhea, compared to 4.5% of those with normal weight
  • One hypothesis is that chronic low-grade inflammation is at play. Not only is chronic inflammation a factor in obesity, but it can also contribute to diarrhea

Hippocrates once said that “all disease begins in the gut,” and the more we learn, the more accurate that statement proves to be. As noted in a 2018 paper:

“While often-quoted figures suggest that the microbes that live in and on the human body outnumber human cells by 10:1, a more recent estimate suggests that we are essentially one part human to one part microbe in terms of cell number.


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