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Unchecked proliferation of gut bacteria could be linked to diabetes, obesity

Posted:  Thursday, November 05, 2015

Researches on the resident gut bacteria laud their numerous health benefits. However, a recent study finds the opposite! The study finds that uncontrolled bacterial fermentation related excess short chain fatty acid production may lead to increased liver lipids. These developments could lead to development of metabolic syndrome and liver disease.

Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study finds that these negative effects on plant-based fibre consumption can affect certain segment of people. Increased consumption of dietary fibre could lead to gut bacterial overgrowth and have adverse consequences in people with

compromised toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) function.

The gut bacteria ferment the fibre, releasing energy-rich short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs) such as acetic acid. Upon reaching the liver, the SCFAs get converted to fats and add to the fat deposits in the liver leading to development of metabolic syndrome. The TLR5 receptor is a part of the immune system. It is known to maintain the gut bacterial homeostasis and a check on bacterial growth

Previous studies have shown SCFAs to be beneficial. However, the researchers say these are the short-term benefits. Dysregulated long-term production of SCFAs due to increased gut bacterial growth could be unfavourable for the host’s health.

According to the researchers, approximately 10% of the population have a mutation in TLR5 and hence may have a weakened immune system. In addition, this mutation may also put them at risk for development of metabolic syndrome.

"Most of the observations describing the beneficial effects of short-chain fatty acids in metabolic disorders are from short-term studies and primarily from healthy subjects and experimental animals. Our next goal is to analyse the long-term effects of short-chain fatty acids, specifically in experimental models of type 2 diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome. We envision that our studies would drive the field towards 'personalised' cautioned dietary intake of plant-derived fibre in immune-compromised individuals," conclude the researchers.

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