By Dr. Mal Evans, Chief Scientific Office, KGK Science, London Ontario.
Dr. Kamaroff, writing in the Harvard health letter addressed this interesting question from a reader: “I just can’t lose weight. A friend says that my problem might be due to the types of bacteria that live in my gut. That sounds crazy to me, but is it true, and can I do something about it?”
It does sound crazy, but scientists have proved this to be true. The Harvard health letter recently reported on a study where scientists found some hidden players. The actual culprit was found to be an interesting group of bugs called microbes made up of bacteria, yeasts, fungi etc. that hide in our gut. This group of microbes, called the microbiome are made up of good and bad bacteria as well as yeasts and fungi and function like a factory. It was thought the microbiome was only involved in the digestion of our food. Interestingly, scientists studying the microbiome, found that our microbiome alters the way that we store fat, how we balance sugar levels along with several other functions. Most interestingly, the microbiome plays a crucial role in controlling the hormones that make us feel hungry or full. Is it then these same microbes that affect weight gain?
What would happen if we increase these “weight controlling good bacteria?” Scientists have answered this question by studying the microbes from the gut of identical human twins where one twin was obese and the other lean. They put bacteria from the twins into the guts of a special type of thin mouse species and discovered that the bacteria from the obese twin made the mice become fat, but bacteria from the lean twin did not have the same effect.
Stress, illness, anxiety, medications and even our genes may play a role in increasing the bad microbes and decrease the good ones. Researchers have shown that a decrease in the numbers of certain microbes in the gut microbiome can cause obesity and obesity related diseases right from birth. Researchers studying the brain and those studying the gut brain connection have shown that an increase in the bad microbes in our gut can have negative effects on our well being and quality of life. This is because there is a finely regulated bi-directional information highway that runs between our brain and our gut influencing our mood, anxiety levels and feeling of wellness that are controlled by the gut microbiome.
Probiotics are known to play a role in gut health. Probiotics are good live bacteria that live in our body and can be consumed to improve our microbiome. Scientists have shown that nutritional supplements like probiotics and foods aimed at improving this gut community of microbes are an important way of helping people concerned about their weight. Researchers from the University of Washington found that certain types of “good” microbes present in the gut of people were linked to how many pounds they were able to lose.
The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium breve B-3 (B. breve B-3) is known for its beneficial functions in weight management. Previous studies on weight control have shown that the level of Bifidobacterium in the gut microbiota was lower in obese people. Scientists studying B. breve B-3 also found that this probiotic may lower fat gain and cholesterol levels as well regulate sugar control and inflammation associated with obesity.
At KGK Science we are studying this probiotic B. breve B-3 in a population of people concerned with their weight, especially those who want to shed those stubborn extra few pounds. This study is accompanied by a diet plan and an exercise program that you can do with equipment available to you in your home. Participant nutrition and exercise counselling will be provided by trained staff, along with participant diaries to document daily food and exercise, allows for each participant to measure their accountability and tailor their plan for best outcome.
The study is approved by Health Canada as well as an Ethics Board and is overseen by Dr. David Crowley, Medical Director. Registered nurses, doctors, trained phlebotomists, and registered nutritionists are part of the clinic staff that guide participants through this study.
In order to participate in this study, ideal participants will be:
- Men & women between the ages of 20 to 65
- Relatively sedentary (non-active)
- Willing to participate in 20 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times/week
- Healthy with a BMI of 25.0 – 29.9 kg/m2
- Available for 4 visits to KGK Science in London, ON over a 12-week period
Participating in one of our studies makes you a Health Hero taking part in innovative research! We take steps to ensure our study participants are treated with the utmost levels of respect and confidentiality. Additional study information will be determined upon online screening to see if this study is right for you. Participants will be compensated $600 for their time.
If you are interested in participating in this probiotic for gut health study, you can complete our online screening questions.