Scientists have found a molecule linking microbes in the human stomach and human fat levels.
Researchers from Emory University in the USA found that genes, environment and nutrition can all influence weight gain. The link between microbes, obesity and weight gain has been demonstrated in mice only. ScienceAlert reports that similar processes could occur in humans.
Emory University scientists discovered that about 10% of metabolic molecules in the body were linked to the microbiome. A new experiment was done on mice and revealed that a molecule called delta-valerobetaine was found in animals. This molecule was affected by microbes from their intestines. This molecule reduced the amount of carnitine.
Carnitine and its role
“Carnitine is a substance found in the human body that helps to transport fat molecules to mitochondria. There they are then broken down and converted to energy to fuel the cells. Mice with delta-valerobetaine could not efficiently break down fat if they were given a high fat diet. According to Ken Liu, Emory University, the mice gained weight and accumulated more fat in their livers.
Obese people have more delta-valerobetaine
Scientists have not been able show how this mechanism works in humans, but they do know that there is a link between body fat, carnitine, and delta-valerobetaine. Scientists found that there was a 40% increase of delta-valerobetaine in the blood of obese people compared to those not overweight.
Scientists say that certain types of microbes can produce more delta-valerobetaine in our gut than others. This is how our gut microbiome can affect our weight. The environment, diet, and medications we use all have an impact on the composition of our gut.
Another study found that delta-valerobetaine was also present in meats and milks, suggesting it could play a role in reducing cancer cell viability.
Ken Liu says that Delta-valerobetaine has both positive and detrimental effects on the human body.
Liu believes that it is possible that delta-valerobetaine was used by mammals as a way to store fat in times when food is scarce. However, more research is required to determine the relationship between obesity and the gut microbiome.
Scientists have shown that certain drugs can be affected by the microbiome in the gut. It turns out that certain drugs are “stored” by the microbes living in our intestines.