Bacteria in your gut, aka gut microbiota, is made up of tens of trillions of microorganism, including 1000 different species of known bacteria. Although scientists are currently not incredibly knowledgeable on gut microbiota, an increasing amount of research has shown that it is plays a significant role in our health.
In a recent study at Lund University in Sweden, researchers have found correlation between gut bacteria and obesity. The purpose of the study was to identify metabolites in the blood that can be linked to obesity and see if they affect the composition of the gut microbiota in stool samples. The researchers studied blood plasma and stool samples from 674 participants and found 19 different metabolites that could be linked to the person’s BMI. Their data showed that Glutamine and BCAA (branched-chain and aromatic amino acids) had the strongest connection to obesity and that four different intestinal bacteria, Blautia, Dorea, Ruminococcus, and SHA98, were linked to the obesity related metabolites. Glutamine, “the strongest risk factor in the study”, has been linked with obesity in previous studies as well. Marju Orho-Melander, professor of genetic epidemiology at Lund University, summed up the study by stating, “The differences in BMI were largely explained by the differences in the levels of glutamate and BCAA. This indicates that the metabolites and gut bacteria interact, rather than being independent of each other.” Therefore, the metabolites they found are potential mediators between gut microbiota and obesity, and may be consequential in ultimately preventing obesity.