If you take two mice and give them a human dose of probiotics--literally, by taking the bacteria found in human guts and transferring it to the mice--what happens?
If you start with a pair of human twins, one obese and one slim, then you transfer that individual's propensity to gain weight to the mice that received the gut bacteria.
That's according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science (the journal of AAAS, the science society).
"Mice lacking bacteria colonies of their own that received gut bacteria from obese humans put on more weight and accumulated more fat than mice that were given bacteria from the guts of lean humans," according to the Journal's account of the the study released to the press. "This finding, which demonstrates the transmission of physical and metabolic traits via communities of microbes in the gut, depends on the rodents diet, the researchers showed, and they suggest that it may represent an important step toward developing personalized probiotic and food-based therapies for obesity."
The study doesn't offer consumers any immediate advice, but it does suggest that the trend in eating probiotic foods and attempting to manage one's gut bacteria may have merit. Popular probiotic foods include yogurt, and fermented foods like kimchi.
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