Empowering Fertility - Need Help Losing Weight? Get the Right Bacteria in Your Gut.

Need Help Losing Weight? Get the Right Bacteria in Your Gut.

By Paul Bergh, MD

In a recent study published in the Journal Cell, researchers have identified a family of microbes in our guts that help keep us lean. They also have demonstrated that the presence or absence of the sliming bacterial family known as Christensenellaceae is determined by our genetic makeup. These bacteria are part of the of 100 trillion microbes that live in and on us and are collectively known as our microbiome. Each area of our bodies (skin, mouth, gut, vagina, etc) has its own micro-environment of microbial organism. While these microbial colonies are influence by our diet, medications, surrounds, sexual behavior, genetics and age they also have a very important role in influencing and maintaining our health. Even minor disturbances in this microbial ecosystem are thought to have wide ranging influence on a host of conditions ranging from cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, infertility, pregnancy loss and pre-term delivery. We inherit our initial microbiome from our mothers at birth and through the mode of our delivery; vaginal versus cesarean section influences what microbes initially colonize us.

After this initial colonization, our microbiome is influenced by an assortment of factors including our genetics, diet and exposure to antibiotics.  Analyzing identical and fraternal twins, these researchers found that quantities of Christensenellaceae bacteria were more similar in identical twins than fraternal twins. In addition, those twins with higher levels of this bacteria were much more likely to be lean. The researchers also performed fecal transfer from these subjects to germ free mice based on BMI status and absence or presence of Christensenellaceae bacteria. Those mice with Christensenellaceae bacteria transplant showed a significantly lowered weight after 21 days.

In summary, this study is one of the first to show that genetics impacts our weight by influencing the microbiome of our gut. As we learn more about the role of our microbiome in our health, researchers have intensified their search in how best to influence and protect favorable microbiomes.


Goodrich, Julia, Waters, Jillian, Poole, Angela, Sutter, Jessica, Koren, Omry, Blekhman, Ran, Beaumont, Michelle, Van Treuren, William, Knight, Rob, Bell, Jordana, Spector, Timothy, Clark, Andrew, and Ley, Ruth. Human Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome. Cell 159(4), 789-799. 11-6-2014

Empowering Fertility: An educational blog for patients & healthcare professionals that empowers individuals to take charge of their fertility. Visit us at http://empoweringfertility.com.

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