NOV 10, 2015 03:17 PM PST

An Imbalanced Gut Microbiome Could Be Making You Fat

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Glutathione is an extremely important antioxidant, the king of all detoxifying agents that prevent oxidative stress in our bodies. It is produced from three amino acids and appears in every cell of our body. However, recent research shows that the mutalistic bacteria living in our gut may be eating up one of the essential amino acids for glutathione production, leading to a glutathione defiency that could be linked to metabolic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and liver disease.

In their recent study published in Molecular Systems Biologyscientists from the Chalmer's University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology, and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden used a functional model of mouse metabolism to establish a connection between gut microbiota and antioxidant metabolism. Glutathione plays vital roles in both humans and mice:  boosting the immune system and enabling nutrient metabolism. It is obtained from food and deficiencies lead to oxidative stress.

By comparing gastrointestinal tract tissue samples from germ-free mice and "conventionally raised" mice, the scientists were able to see the global metabolic differences between the two. The researchers were able to see that some gut microbiota were consuming glycine, one of the three amino acids required for glutathione synthesis.

If there is an imbalance in the normal microbiome and too many bacteria are consuming glycine, glutathione synthesis will be severely reduced. Lacking normal levels of this powerful antioxidant is dangerous for human health.

"Imbalances in the composition of the bacteria may lead to the progression of the chronic diseases," explained Dr. Adil Mardinoglu, first author of the paper.

Indeed, patients with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcohol related fatty liver disease are found to have reduced glycine levels in plasma.

"The discovery that the bacteria in our small intestine consume glycine and regulate glutathione metabolism may led to the development of food products that can deliver beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to the gut," said Dr. Jens Nielsen. 

Replenishing the body's store of diverse, beneficial bacteria could be the key to treating and/or preventing metabolic disease.

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is important for a lot of reasons. Check out the following video to learn more: 
Source: Molecular Systems Biology and Science Daily






 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 01, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 01, 2018
Revealing How Antibiotics Work Against Bacteria
In a first, researchers have directly observed an antibiotic in action as it disrupted the membrane of a bacterial cell....
OCT 11, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 11, 2018
Revealing a 'Double Agent' in the Immune System
Researchers want to enhance our natural defenses to fight a variety of health problems more effectively....
OCT 13, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 13, 2018
Gut Bacteria Connected to Heart Transplant Success - or Failure
The more they look, the more connections researchers find between our microbiome and our health....
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
The Role of Clinical Lab Scientists
The clinical laboratory is the heart of any hospital or healthcare system. It is responsible for greater than 70% of medical diagnoses and decisions made b...
NOV 28, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 28, 2018
A Deadly Microbe Lurks on the Skin of Many People
There are some well-known bacterial pathogens that can present a major threat to health, but a lesser-known microbe may be just as big of a danger....
DEC 12, 2018
Immunology
DEC 12, 2018
Switch HIV Infection
A new study highlights the effects of a target gene in HIV latent infection...
Loading Comments...