Invasion of the Gut Bugs

Researchers are working on a theory and manipulating the microbes in your intestinal tract, through diet or medication, may be the key to weight loss. Boston Globe correspondent Bijal P. Trivedi reports:

The human digestive system is home to between 10 trillion and 100 trillion bacteria -- at least 10 times the number of human cells in the body. ''This makes us more microbe than man," said Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, director of the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In exchange for shelter and a plentiful food supply, these bacteria boost their host's digestion by extracting nutrients from otherwise indigestible food particles.

Gordon believes, though his science isn't there yet, that people with certain communities of gut microbes may get more calories from their food -- and therefore pack on more fat -- than people with a different set of bugs. Manipulating these bacteria by diet or medications may eventually become one approach to fighting obesity, he and others said.

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Linda - June 2, 2006 1:10 PM

Oh, wow, interesting! What's Dr.F.'s take on this?
It's always nice to hear that it's not one's fault they are fat, lol.

A little confused by this sentence, "This makes us more microbe than man" ?? Us? Does he mean it makes THEM (the bacteria) more microbe than man?

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