No Stupid You Are What You Eat!!!

OK so your Mother called me and she was pissed. She said there is no way I can blame her for you being a fat pig. But of course she is only partly correct.

There is of course much more to the story than just the fact that your Mother cared more about what she stuffed in her face while pregnant than your future health...OK OK so before you all get really angry I'm just using the tone to get your attention. And yes the evidence is clear that your Mom did affect your ultimate metabolic properties but another recently identified player is the dirt you inhaled as soon as you were born.

Yes, I said dirt. Turns out that there is growing evidence that the bacteria that reside in your gut can have a direct impact on your propensity to develop obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseasse. And since your gut was sterile while in utero this problem starts right after birth when you are first exposed to the environment. So maybe we should all blame the hospitals for our health problems??

Anyway, I don't want to spend 5000 words describing all the evidence, and it is quite compelling, I will just highlight the facts. This concept was born out of the observations that mice raised in a sterile environment have less fat than conventionally raised mice. The mechanism proposed to account for this body fat increase in these mice was the suppressed intestinal expression of fasting-induced adipose factor (Fiaf, or angiopoietin-like protein 4), a circulating lipoprotein lipase (LPL) inhibitor that is also produced by liver and adipocytes. Increased LPL activity leads to triglyceride accumulation in adipocytes. Second, when researchers experimentally activated the master metabolic regulating enzyme, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), in liver and skeletal muscle, resulting in increased fatty-acid oxidation and insulin sensitivity, and decreased levels of glycogen, the mice were protected from diet-induced obesity. Further ananlysis demonstrated that the presence of gut bacteria suppressed skeletal muscle fatty-acid oxidation via metabolic pathways that involved the inactivation of AMPK.

So now the health care industry is sitting up and taking notice and there has been an global study of this phenomenon undertaken called the Human Microbiome Project (HMP). This study aims to better understand the structure and function of the microbial communities that inhabit the gut and other niches within the human body and their role in health and disease.

I will be adding a major page to my Medical Biochemistry website that will cover the topic of the obesity epidemic in the US, and other industrialized countries and will discuss this gut bacteria-obesity-disease connection in more detail so look for it soon.


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