How Your Gut Bacteria Can Affect Your Body Weight
Have you been putting on weight recently for no apparent reason? Do you exercise regularly, eat well and yet not seem to lose any weight? Have you hit a weight loss plateau in spite of doing everything right? Health Coach Anindita Guha Maulik Rungta says the problem maybe with the health of your gut.
It is time for you to consider whether the health of your gut (specifically your large intestine) is the main reason. In fact, research shows that stubborn weight problems are closely associated with gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation. This is because trillions of microbes which reside in your gut (collectively known as “microbiome”) are responsible for regulating fat metabolism, immunity, and production of vitamins. Anything that leads to an imbalance in this gut bacteria can lead to all kinds of symptoms like bloating, constipation, gas, migraines, fatigue, mood disorders. This is called gut dysbiosis.
- In spite of the proliferation of gyms, online workout videos and other interventions, most people are finding it increasingly difficult to lose weight.
- The solution to the problem is to heal your gut.
- The type of dominant class of bacteria that we have residing in our gut has a dramatic impact on our weight.
- The “Firmicutes” class of bacteria are too efficient at extracting energy from the food that we eat and “Bacteriodetes” specialises in breaking down bulky plant fibre and starches into energy.
What causes gut dysbiosis?
This imbalance can occur due to poor diet, chronic stress, antibiotics and other medications, exposure to environmental toxins affect the health of the microbiome. This microbial ecosystem is as unique as our individual fingerprints and as complex as the Amazon rainforest. Our health is intricately connected to this inner ecosystem.
This microbial ecosystem is as unique as our individual fingerprints and as complex as the Amazon rainforest.
Our human gut bacteria play a critical role in weight maintenance due to their influence on food metabolism, appetite regulation, energy expenditure, hormonal regulation and inflammation. The type of dominant class of bacteria that we have residing in our gut also has a dramatic impact on our weight. The “Firmicutes” class of bacteria are too efficient at extracting energy from the food that we eat and are called “fat forming bugs”. Overweight people tend to have more Firmicutes bacteria which promotes craving for the wrong kind of foods, creating a vicious cycle which is difficult to get out of.
Overweight people tend to have more Firmicutes bacteria which promotes craving for the wrong kind of foods, creating a vicious cycle which is difficult to get out of.
The other class of bacteria called “Bacteriodetes” which specialises in breaking down bulky plant fibre and starches into energy that the body immediately uses and hence does not promote weight gain. Hence, eating plant-based foods, high in fibre, ensures the growth of this bacteria and helps us maintain an optimal weight.
Chronic low-grade systemic inflammation
Also, poor gut health has been linked to chronic low-grade systemic inflammation in the gut due to the seepage of endotoxins (toxins produced in the body) from inside the intestine into our bloodstream. Due to the release of these toxins, the gut lining which is only one cell thick and is selectively permeable, can become “leaky” and start allowing these and undigested food particles to seep into the bloodstream triggering an immune response. Inflammatory chemicals are released due to this, leading to chronic, low-grade inflammation. This can create havoc in our body leading to downstream conditions (but not limited to) autoimmune conditions, allergies and intolerances, asthma, digestive issues, mood disorders, hormonal imbalances and many more.
You can learn more about “leaky gut” here.
How to heal your gut
In spite of the proliferation of gyms, online workout videos, Zumba and aerobic classes, diets and other interventions, most people across the world are finding it increasingly difficult to lose weight. The solution is not yet another weight loss programme, a “diet” or yet more exercise, the way forward is actually to heal your gut. The starting point is to remove trigger foods which are best identified by going through a 4-week elimination diet prior to embarking on the gut healing protocol. This will help you to identify and eliminate foods (the usual culprits are dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, etc.) for a while and give your body to calm down the inflammation.
Anindita Guha Maulik Rungta is India’s a Functional Medicine Health Coach from the US-based Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA). She has also written a book called “I have eczema…so what?”
The views expressed are the author’s own.