Gut Flora Can Alter Eating Behavior

Sunday, May 27, 2012
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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The idea that the type of bacteria you have in your digestive tract can actually determine your eating behavior is something to pause for a moment and think about.  I am saying that completely foreign bacteria can direct your subconscious brain how to behave in relation to food intake, a statement that is consistent with the latest study on the subject.

Researchers from the French Institute for Agricultural Research transferred the intestinal bacteria of obesity prone or obesity resistant rats into the intestinal tracts of germ free mice recipients, therefore having no innate gut microbiota. Some animals were fed a regular diet, whereas others were provided unlimited access to a high fat diet. Food intake and weight gain were monitored for eight weeks, and intestinal samples were analyzed for a variety of physiologic markers of metabolism and normal feedback mechanisms known to play a role in maintenance of energy balance.

Mice that received intestinal bacteria from obesity prone animals ate more food, gained more weight, and became more obese than those that received microbiota from obesity resistant animals. Animals with microbiota transferred from obesity prone animals also exhibited changes in intestinal nutrient sensors and gut peptide levels, likely influencing how the animals responded to eating.

Behavioral impulses in response to food signaling are of fundamental importance to the survival of the human race. If your gut flora is imbalanced, they can generate signals within your gut that cause peptides to form that communicate to your brain and dictate your eating behavior. 

If you struggle with food cravings and have digestive tract symptoms, then working on improving your overall gut health and specifically working on improving your friendly flora may really help you out.

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