Gut bacteria regulate appetite and tell us when to stop eating according to a new research paper recently published in the Cell Metabolism journal.
Gut bacteria can be detrimental to our health. However, there’s a host of gut bacteria which are healthy and help us in various ways. The new research paper show how a type of E.coli bacteria plays an important role in curbing hunger sensation after 20 minutes of eating. At the same time, it triggers the production of proteins signaling the brain that the host is full. Rather, that the bacteria is full as the entire process depends on the bacteria’s appetite and growth.
The research paper presents the results of an experiment conducted on mice and rats. The proteins produced as a result of the E.coli bacteria stimulation were found to regulate food intake significantly. The study could pave the way to further research on the role of gut bacteria in regulating food intake with humans.
Kevin Murphy, endocrinologist with the Imperial College London explained that:
“It suggests that the growth and activity of the microbiome might specifically regulate appetite and feeding behavior”.
When we eat, we’re not the only ones benefitting from the nourishment. Gut bacteria also responsible for breaking down the food into respective compounds also benefit from the nourishment. Population size is kept in check and the gut bacteria get to grow, stimulated to a large extent by sugars.
Studying the gut bacteria of mice and rats under laboratory conditions, Serguei Fetissov and his team observed that 20 minutes after the mice and rats had their meal, the E.coli populations stabilized, halting growth.
In addition, after halting growth, the E.coli populations produced more proteins known to affect appetite with humans. The protein is dubbed CIpB and acts as a hormone regulating our appetite and feeding behavior. After the 20-minute landmark, the E.coli bacteria triggered a production of the CIpB protein twice as large as normal levels.
The CIpB protein collected at this stage was injected in other mice and rats. The research team noticed that they ate less compared to the mice and rats that hadn’t been injected with the proteins. At the same time, their levels of CIpB protein spiked significantly. At the same time, the protein triggered the release of PYY, a hormone also acting on the appetite, reducing it and lessening the hunger sensation.
While it’s too early to state whether the same findings apply to humans, the study certainly encourages further research into how gut bacteria regulate appetite and tell us when to stop eating.
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