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Intestinal flora determines health of obese people
Date:8/28/2013

The international consortium MetaHIT, which includes the research group of Jeroen Raes (VIB / Vrije Universiteit Brussel), publishes in the leading journal Nature that there is a link between richness of bacterial species in the intestines and the susceptibility for medical complications related to obesity. The researchers demonstrated that people with fewer bacterial species in their intestines are more likely to develop complications, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A flora with decreased bacterial richness appears to function entirely differently to the healthy variety with greater diversity.

Jeroen Raes (VIB/VUB): "This is an amazing result with possibly enormous implications for the treatment and even prevention of the greatest public health issue of our time. But we are not there yet, now we need studies in which we can monitor people for a longer period. We want to perform these types of long-term studies together with the "Vlaams Darmflora Project" (Flemish Gut Flora Project), which is only possible thanks to the selfless efforts of thousands of Flemish residents."

Obesity, a health problem

Metabolic conditions have become an epidemic partly due to the modern lifestyle without a lot of exercise and easy access to (a lot of) energy-dense food. It is expected that obesity will increase tremendously all over the world; from 400 million obese people in 2005, to more than 700 million in 2015. A trend that will persist at least until 2030. Some people appear to be more sensitive to obesity than others. Many studies over the years have examined the possible cause of this.

Bacterial richness in your intestines is associated with susceptibility to obesity

Over the last years it has become very clear that there is a link between the bacterial population in our intestines and our health. As a result, scientists also started studying the link between obesity and intestinal flora. An internationa
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Contact: Kris Van der Beken
kris.vanderbeken@vib.be
32-473-783-435
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

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