Weight loss: closing the stomach or changing our bacteria?


16229845_mIn order to lose weight or to maintain our physical fitness, we have the choice of changing (or adjust) the gut bacterial flora.

That is a reasonable cue arising from some pieces of research, which opened new innovative ways to change the management of metabolic signals that should be given to the organism.

Obesity and weight loss are two topics both individually and socially “hot”, still almost no book or TV program talks about weight loss signals (for example, the breakfast) or about weight gain signals (for example, sugar and sweeteners) that one can send to the body so that it can recover the wellbeing.

The attention lies always on what goes inside the body or on how much is consumed, almost never on the way in which the body can regulate consumption.

In our clinic, for years we have been following obese or overweight patients through specific therapeutic courses, which are based on the study of the abovementioned aspects, starting from the weight-gaining effect exerted by food-related inflammation, until the definition and the choice of innovative physical activity techniques that certainly fit well within an action aiming at stimulating the metabolism, without being limited to an ineffective plan of long-standing control of the calories.

Unfortunately today, severe obesity can even lead to gastric closure: for many patients, bariatric surgery (the so called surgical intervention, which aims at reducing stomach capacity) is the last chance to regain their fitness.

Yet, the results of a study recently published in Nature by a group of Danish and American researchers have shown that the metabolic pro-weight loss signals triggered by bariatric surgery are almost immediate and do not depend on calories reduction, but instead on the modification of the intestinal bacterial flora, on a different production of biliary salts at the intestinal level and on the modulation of a peculiar nuclear factor (FXR), which stimulates the metabolism (Ryan KK et al, Nature. 8 May 2014, 509 (7499): 183-8. doi: 10.1038/nature13135 . Epub 2014 March 26).

This new evidence generates more than a reasonable doubt. These data go along with other research findings on the role played by different probiotics and the signals sent to the organism (Machiels K et al, Gut. Sep 10 2013 doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2013-304833. [Epub ahead of print]), describing the active role played by the quality of food chosen, by the distribution of the food throughout the day, by the integrity of the intestinal barrier, and in particular by the digestive action of pancreas along with the use of specific probiotics to improve the metabolic function.

All this triggers a wide range of possibilities not only limited to the amount of food ingested, but finally able to consider the whole situation in a broader manner, for instance by using the metabolic signals as active regulatory tools, within an integrated vision of the human body.