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Cedars-Sinai study: Obesity may be linked to microorganisms living in the gut
Date:3/25/2013

other microbes and use it to produce methane which is eventually exhaled by the host. Researchers theorize this interaction helps neighboring hydrogen-producing bacteria thrive and extract nutrients from food more efficiently. Over time, this may contribute to weight gain.

"Essentially, it could allow a person to harvest more calories from their food," Mathur said.

In an ongoing study funded by the American Diabetes Association, Mathur is working to confirm the link between M. smithii, obesity and pre-diabetic conditions by determining how efficiently people digest food before and after eliminating the microorganism with a targeted dose of antibiotic. Participants who have evidence of methane on their breath are given a standard diet over three days, undergo an oral glucose challenge, and swallow a "smart pill" to track how fast the food moves through their bodies. In addition, their stool is collected and sent for calorie analysis allowing researchers to determine how many calories are being harvested during digestion. Participants then repeat the same tests after taking the antibiotic regimen to see if elimination of the organism results in measureable changes.

"This should let us know just how energy balance is affected by M. smthii," Mathur said, "We're only beginning to understand the incredibly complex communities that live inside of us. If we can understand how they affect our metabolism, we may be able to work with these microscopic communities to positively impact our health."


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Contact: Nicole White
nicole.white@cshs.org
310-423-5215
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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