Gut microbes cause obesity?

A fresh report points out to recent studies, which suggest that microbes might be responsible for fat deposition in the body.

| Updated on: Mar 17 2005, 19:51 IST

Micro-organisms present in the gut may contribute towards obesity, which is emerging as a major health problem in India and other developing countries.

A report in the journal Current Science pointed out recent publications, which suggested that microbes in the gut might be responsible for fat deposition in the body.

'Influence of gut microbes on human health is not new... Their sheer number in the gut milieu speaks of their value in human health,' the report said.

In a healthy adult, the number of microbes is about 10 times the total number of cells. Besides, according to recent estimates, the total number of species of microbes in the gut could be 500-1000, which is equivalent to 100 times more genes than the human genome, it said.

Studies indicate that humans and gut microbes have evolved a symbiotic relationship and one manifestation of this is the ability of microbes to process dietary components and deposit extracted energy in the form of fat. This could have been of paramount importance to prehistoric humans for whom food was not always readily accessible.

But in the modern times, when food is not scarce, this benefit becomes detrimental; the report said quoting a study.

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First Published Date: 13 Mar, 22:26 IST