The war on obesity starts with bacteria

When I first started writing about the human microbiome, I was amazed and cautiously optimistic that these incredible findings would eventually be accepted by the mainstream.

And remember, I published one of the first books on the subject, Boost Your Health with Bacteria, nearly a decade ago. So yes, it took a while. But to my surprise, all of these hopes have been realized in recent years.

By now, even the conventional medical community has come around to the fact that gut bacteria are the lynchpin of good health… and that a disrupted microbiome paves the way toward chronic disease.

But we’re still a ways off from seeing that knowledge put into practice. Which is why every new study still matters. Especially when it deals with an issue as urgent as the obesity crisis.

Surgery won’t fix a diversity problem

I’ve talked to you about the relationship between gut bacteria and obesity before. But this new research is a little out of the ordinary. I’ll explain why in a moment.

For now, let me start with a few of the less surprising details…

The 61 women in this study were either severely or morbidly obese, with a mean BMI just over 45. (Remember, a BMI over 25 is overweight — and anything over 30 is obese.) The subjects were also young, with a mean age of 37.

Not surprisingly, some of the women in this group had gastric band surgery to reduce caloric intake. And 14 had gastric bypass, which prevents intestinal calorie absorption.

Here’s why those details are important: Three-quarters of this sample population had low microbial gene diversity — one of the key calling cards of a healthy microbiome. But even though gastric bypass surgery delivered improvements in a number of metabolic measures, it did very little for bacterial diversity, even five years after surgery.

What’s more, this unbalanced microbiome was linked to increased belly fat and a higher chance of diabetes and hypertension.

Probiotics before gastric bypass

When you look at the research, numbers show that up to 40 percent of moderately obese subjects have poor microbiome diversity. Clearly, an individual’s bacterial population plays a huge role in either causing or preventing obesity.

If you ask me, the audacity of this new study was in assuming that it would work the other way around. And that obesity surgery would somehow magically fix the problem.

Of course, from their wacky perch of scientific wisdom, the researchers are, of course, calling for more studies to determine “whether specific interventions (specialized diets, prebiotics/probiotics, or gut microbiota [fecal] transfers) may be useful to consider prior to — or post — bariatric surgery in severely obese individuals.”

Let me save them the trouble: YES, OF COURSE THEY ARE!

A high-quality probiotic has always been one of my core supplement recommendations — not just for weight loss, but for overall health. And by “high-quality,” I mean a product that delivers a diverse dose of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.

There’s only one that delivers all of these goods. That’s Dr. Ohhira’s — and I’ve been recommending it for years. But it’s not the only way to whip your gut into shape and win the battle of the bulge once and for all.

I covered this topic in detail most recently in the May 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“New science uncovers the cure for ‘diabesity’”). Subscribers can access that article — and a whole lot more — in my archives. So if you haven’t yet, don’t wait. Sign up today.

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