Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have made an important discovery about how bacteria in our guts can affect obesity.
They found that small parts of bacteria, called endotoxins, can leak into the bloodstream from the gut and directly impact fat cells.
This leakage is more common in obesity and can decrease the normal functioning of fat cells.
Why It Matters
Healthy fat cells are essential to our overall health. If they become damaged or dysfunctional, they can contribute to diseases like type 2 diabetes.
The researchers believe that their study is a major step in understanding how fat cells work, how they can contribute to weight gain, and how they are related to other diseases.
This study was a collaboration between researchers at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Warwick. The results were published in the journal BMC Medicine.
In the experiments, the scientists discovered that endotoxins significantly damaged fat cells.
These toxins prevented the cells from turning into brown-like fat cells, which are metabolically active and can help with weight loss.
White fat cells from obese individuals were found to be less likely to turn into these brown-like cells, most likely due to the higher levels of endotoxins in their blood.
The Impact of Weight Loss
The research team also investigated how losing weight could help to reverse these effects.
They found that surgical weight loss procedures, like bariatric surgery, were able to reduce the amount of endotoxin in the blood. This led to improvements in the metabolic health of the fat cells.
The Big Picture
Professor Mark Christian, the lead researcher of the study, explained that these bacterial fragments interfere with the normal function of fat cells and contribute to the risk of diabetes.
He pointed out that as people gain weight, their fat cells become less able to limit the damage caused by these endotoxins.
The researchers highlighted the importance of the gut and fat as critical, interconnected organs that influence our metabolic health.
The study builds upon previous work that showed how gut-derived endotoxins can damage our fat cells when we gain weight.
It underscores the importance of reducing endotoxin-induced damage to fat cells, especially in overweight individuals.
Dr. Alice Murphy, a postdoctoral research fellow, emphasized that losing weight can reverse the damage caused by these endotoxins, leading to significant health benefits.
Dr. Farah Omran, another researcher on the team, pointed out that brown-like fat cells, which are hindered by endotoxins, are associated with a healthy metabolism.
These cells are highly active and beneficial for our health, while white fat cells, which are more common in obesity, are less so.
This discovery adds to our understanding of obesity and how it can be managed, and it opens up new avenues for future research and treatment strategies.
If you care about gut health, please read studies about a major cause of leaky gut, fatty liver disease, and eating nuts may help reduce risks of the gut lesion and cancer.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about what postbiotics are and how they can improve our gut health, and results showing common dietary fiber may trigger inflammation in the gut and lungs.
The study was published in BMC Medicine.
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