When you sit around the holiday table, looking at the damage done, swearing that you cannot handle even one more bite, it may be your microbes talking. Researchers have found clues that suggest when certain bacteria in your gut have had enough to eat, they single to the brain that it is time to stop.
20 minutes after eating, E. coli
bacteria -- common in the human gut, produce proteins that have been tied to the hormone responsible for appetite suppression. This study is one of the first ever to examine microbial activity in the body and human behaviours.
The human body contains trillions of microbes, the majority of which are found in the gut. In fact, 70% of all the microbes in the body are found in the colon. One of these microbes is E. coli
and this new study suggests it may play a role in shaping our eating habits.
[bctt tweet="Slipping Into A Food Coma? Blame Your Gut Microbes"]
Whatever food you put into your body, be it a holiday meal or a light snack, contains nutrients that are also absorbed by microbes, prompting their reproduction. The scientists have come to suspect that it is beneficial to this gut bacteria to signal the host to regulate food intake in order to help control their population. It was this suspicion that lead the researchers to look for changes in E. coli
relative to feeding.
Sergueï O. Fetissov, of Rouen University in France and co-author of the new study said that he and his colleagues had previously studied a bacterial protein called ClpB. Because it was easily traceable in the blood and gut, they were able to measure how much of it the E. coliI
produced both before and after it fed.
What they noticed was that about 20 minutes after feeding, E. coli
bacteria produced twice as much of the ClpB protein as they did before they fed. This is interesting when you consider that it is usually 20 minutes after eating that people begin to feel full.
The researchers then wanted to see what effect this increased released of ClpB in E. coli
's postmeal protein cocktail might have on the body of the host. When injected into mice and rats, they found that this particular combination of proteins reduced food intake. By looking more closely, they found that these proteins stimulated the release of the hormone peptide YY, or PYY.
"PYY is one of the main hormones released from the gut after a meal, so it signals satiety to the brain," Fetissov explained. "It starts to be released about 20 minutes after the meal. So, if you look at the dynamic of the bacterial growth, they fit perfectly with the dynamic of PYY release in the blood after the meal."
But, it is worth noting that E. coli
makes up a very, very small part of your gut bacteria, making up only 1% of the population in the colon. Fetissov is excited by the information that can be gained by studying other gut bacteria. He believes that we will likely find that bacteria plays a huge role in the controlling of molecular pathways that influence other behaviours and emotions.
"We will continue to look into the mechanism of how that bacteria can regulate appetite, particularly in people who are obese or who suffer from binge-eating disorders," Fetissov said. "And if we find some involvement, I hope we can also treat these conditions."
Interesting research to say the least!
Are you relieved to hear that your holiday overeating may have nothing at all to do with willpower?
Source: Huffington Post
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