The reason for your obesity or your diabetes may be something that is already in your gut, a study suggests.
According to a feature on Reuters, an international team of researchers led by Chinese scientist Wang Jun found more than a thousand different species of bacteria in the human gut. This was revealed through the latest issue of Nature.
The research team analyzed the genes of each identified bacteria, thereby coming up with “the first genetic catalog of the organisms found in the human digestive system”. The research was based on an analysis of stool from more than a hundred people from Denmark and Spain. From the analysis, Wang and his fellow researchers found genes that could be linked to obesity and Crohn’s disease, among others, although Wang clarified that more validation was in order.
Wang Jun, who is the executive director of the Beijing Genomics Institute, told Reuters that “apart from helping you digest, these bacteria may also play a very important role in … diseases like Crohn’s disease, cancer, obesity… If you just tackle these bacteria, it is easier than treating the human body itself. If you find that a certain bug is responsible for a certain disease and you kill it, then you kill the disease.”
The creation of the genetic catalog for all the bacteria in the human gut is “only the beginning,” according to Wang. At this time, he and his colleagues are working on a similar study, this time in Chinese hospitals with the following groups: obese diabetics, obese non-diabetics, lean diabetics and lean non-diabetics.