The gut microbiome plays an important role in our health. It affects our metabolism and imbalances (dysbiosis) in the gut microbiome have been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that people with these diseases have varying occurrence of different metabolites in their blood. In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers from Lund University looked for specific metabolites in the blood that can be linked to obesity and whether these obesity-related metabolites affect the composition of the gut microbiome. The researchers analyzed blood and gut microbiome samples from 920 adults (normal weight and overweight/obese). They identified 19 different metabolites associated with obesity. Glutamate and BCAA (branched-chain and amino acids) had the strongest connection to obesity.
They also found that the obesity-related metabolites were associated with four different gut bacteria: L. blautia, L. dorea, L. ruminococcus, and SHA-98. Glutamate, which is the strongest risk factor for obesity in the study, has been associated with obesity in previous studies, and BCAAs have been used to predict the future onset of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The differences between normal BMI (body mass index) and overweight/obese were largely explained by the differences in the levels of glutamate and BCAA. This suggests that the metabolites and gut bacteria interact, and are not independent of each other.
The research team believes that future studies should now focus on how the composition of gut bacteria can be modified to reduce the risk of obesity and associated metabolic diseases.
Filip Ottosson, Louise Brunkwall, Ulrika Ericson, Peter M Nilsson, Peter Almgren, Céline Fernandez, Olle Melander, Marju Orho-Melander. Connection between BMI related plasma metabolite profile and gut microbiota. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 01 February 2018 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2017-02114/4834036
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