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Healthy gut flora could prevent obesity
Date:5/25/2011

Poor gut flora is believed to trigger obesity. In the same way, healthy gut flora could reduce the risk. This has shown to be the case in tests on rats.

Daily intake of a lactic acid bacteria, which has been given the name Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19, appears to be able to prevent obesity and reduce the body's low-level inflammation.

"Rats who were given this specific lactic acid bacterium from their time in the uterus up to adult age put on significantly less weight than other rats. Both groups ate the same amount of high-energy food", explains Caroline Karlsson, a researcher in food hygiene at Lund University.

Ms Karlsson also observed that the rats which were given lactobacilli had a richer and better composition of the bacteria which occur naturally in the intestines. A healthy gut flora should contain a large proportion of 'good bacteria', such as lactic acid bacteria, in order to keep the inflammation-causing bacteria in check.

A third group of rats were given the inflammation-causing Escherichia coli bacteria in their drinking water, in addition to the same high-energy food as the other rats. The E. coli supplement led to changes in gut flora and increased body fat. The findings were published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition and form part of the doctoral thesis that Caroline Karlsson recently presented.

In another study, Caroline Karlsson has studied the first faeces of 79 children born vaginally. A foetus lives in a sterile environment and therefore has no micro-organisms in its intestines, but during birth the baby swallows the lactobacilli that are naturally present in its mother's vagina.

"It had not previously been shown that all newborn babies born vaginally have lactobacilli in their gut flora as early as two days after birth. Thanks to the application of a gene-based technique, we have been able to show in our study that this is in fact the case", says Caroline Kar
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Contact: Professor Siv Ahrn
Siv.Ahrne@appliednutrition.lth.se
46-703-484-516
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

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