After a few years of awareness, researchers are now really digging into the mysteries of the bacterial powerhouse inside the human gut — the glorious microbiome. From chronic fatigue to jet lag effects, we are discovering that upsetting the unique microbial balance within each of us can have far-reaching effects.
But some of them may be positive: A team out of Arizona State University has uncovered that patients who undergo one of the most aggressive forms of bariatric surgery end up with one of the most diverse gut microbiome profiles — and that the colony of happy bacteria doing their thing may be the principal cause of the subsequent weight loss, rather than the reduction in stomach size.
“Gastric bypass works like this: A surgeon takes the upper portion of the stomach and cordons it off with stitches, creating a small pouch. Then the doctor attaches a Y-shaped section of the small intestine to the pouch, which routes any food you might swallow directly to the second segment of the small intestine, bypassing the portions of your digestive tract that do most of the nutrient- and calorie-absorbing. It’s a pretty dramatic organ-reorganization. One that makes for a less acidic environment with more oxygen, allowing microbes formerly unable to survive in the gut to flourish.”
Megan Molteni of Wired relates that one of the new microbes that find themselves in the gut after this surgery is Lactobacillus a probiotic that assists digestion and is normally found only in the mouth! With the amazing results of this small study the researchers are now looking at microbial profile as the magic bullet for obesity control, and ways to affect the gut environment that don’t involve surgery.