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GI-Digestive Diet Nutrition Weight and Obesity

Fat Build-Up Around The Waist

1 year ago

10520  0
Posted on Jun 06, 2018, 8 p.m.

Development of personalized treatments for obesity and other chronic diseases may be possible within a decade made possible by knowledge gained regarding processes that drive fat build up around the waist paving the way, as published in Nature Genetics.


Scientists analysed faecal metabolome of 500 pairs of twin in the largest study of its kind to build a pictures of how the gut governs processes and distributes fat, and assessed how much of the activity is genetic and how much is determined by environmental factors.

Stool sample analysis identified biomarkers for build up of internal fat around the waist. This visceral fat is well known to be associated with development of conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Gaining better understandings of how microbial chemicals lead to the development of fat around the waist in some of the twins is hoped to help advance understandings of similar mechanisms which drive development of obesity.


67.7% of gut activity was found to be influenced by environmental factors with the main one being the person’s regular diet, and 17.9% of gut processes were found to be attributed to hereditary factors via faecal metabolite analysis. Put simply in other words this means that important changes can be made to the way gut processes and distributes fat by altering the individual’s diet and microbial interactions in their gut.


The team created a gut metabolome bank which will help with engineering of bespoke and ideal gut environments which efficiently process and distribute fat. The first comprehensive database of which microbes and what chemical metabolites they are associated with in the gut that will help to gain better understandings of how bacteria within the gut affects human health was generated by this study.


Not only do these findings accelerate understandings of interplay between what is consumed and the way it is processed in the gut with development of fat in the body, it also broadens understandings of inflammation and immunity. Faecal metabolome analysis has provided a snapshot of health of the body and complex processes taking place within the gut.


Importance to health and weight of thousands of chemicals that gut microbes produce in response to food has been demonstrated, knowing that they are largely controlled by food rather than genes opens up new ways to use food as medicine; in the future these chemicals may even be used in smart toilets or smart toilet paper.


Gained knowledge means gut environments can be altered to help combat the ever growing challenge of obesity from new angles that is related to modifiable factors such as diet and microbes within the gut. Unlike genes and innate risk to develop fat around the belly, gut microbes can be modified with probiotics, drugs, or with high fiber diets, which is great news in the struggle against globesity.


Materials provided by King's College London.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

Jonas Zierer, Matthew A. Jackson, Gabi Kastenmüller, Massimo Mangino, Tao Long, Amalio Telenti, Robert P. Mohney, Kerrin S. Small, Jordana T. Bell, Claire J. Steves, Ana M. Valdes, Tim D. Spector, Cristina Menni. The fecal metabolome as a functional readout of the gut microbiome. Nature Genetics, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0135-7



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