Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and most of the world’s population now live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
Obesity represents a major health challenge because it substantially increases the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
In recent years, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has soared worldwide with approximately 462 million individuals affected, corresponding to 6.28% of the world’s population.
In a new study, researchers found bacteria that can promote metabolic and mental health.
They found Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 is an important regulator of appetite and metabolism.
The research was conducted by a team at University College Cork.
In the study, the team tested a group of healthy people who were overweight or obese.
They found that the novel bacterial strain Bifidobacterium Longum APC1472 reduced their fasting blood glucose levels and could normalize active levels of both ghrelin.
Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger, and the stress hormone cortisol, both of which are altered in obesity.
While no effect was seen in reducing weight gain in humans, initial research showed that the bacterium reduced weight gain and fat depot size in obese mice.
These findings show that B. longum APC1472 has the potential to be developed as a valuable probiotic supplement to reduce blood glucose.
It has been known for a long time that stress and obesity are linked.
While stress can suppress appetite in the short-term, chronic stress is known to increase cortisol which increases appetite; hence the phrase “stress eating.”
This research found that B. Longum APC1472 plays an important role in keeping our hunger hormone, ghrelin, in check, and lowers our stress hormone, cortisol.
The findings reinforce the concept of the link between the gut microbiome, metabolic disease and mental health, which is a growing area of research.
One author of the study is Dr. Harriet Schellekens.
The research is published today in eBioMedicine.
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