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Volume 38, No. 2

No Microbiome Obesity Link?

Is a messed-up microbiome linked to obesity? New study casts doubt

For people with weight problems, news headlines in recent years may have brought relief, as researchers studying the microscopic creatures inside our bodies reported possible links between obesity and an out-of-whack balance of microbes.

But a new study, done by pooling data from most of those studies, throws cold water on the idea that extra pounds may stem from an imbalance of the bacteria inside us.

In fact, the study published in the journal mBio finds, there's no clear common characteristic of the microbe populations, or microbiomes, in the digestive systems of obese people that makes them different from the microbiomes of those with a healthy weight.

This lack of a clear 'signature' across more than 1,000 volunteers in 10 of the largest studies done to date may not please overweight people. It may also disappoint the companies that sell them products aimed at altering the gut's microscopic population through fiber, nutrients and 'good' bacteria.

Still, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School, this finding's actually exciting. It means that there's much more complexity -- and therefore much more to learn -- when it comes to the relationship between our microbiome and our health. Read the full article.


Originally published in ScienceDaily. Source: University of Michigan Health System.

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