Gut microbiome impacts future weight loss
Certain baseline gut microbiome features correlated with future changes in weight following intervention, according to study results published in mSystems, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
“In our study, we observed that only very few blood and lifestyle measures associate with future weight loss after a change in lifestyle,” Christian Diener, PhD, a research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington, told Healio Gastroenterology. “However, the genes carried by the bacteria in our gut do. Our results underscore the fact that our intestinal bacteria are an important filter between the food we consume and our bloodstream. Weight loss may be especially hard when our gut bacteria slow their own growth, while also breaking down dietary fibers into energy-rich sugars that make their way into our bloodstream before they can be fermented into organic acids by the microbiota.”
Diener and colleagues conducted a weight-loss response assessment of 105 patients enrolled in a commercial wellness program including health lifestyle coaching. Each patient had baseline blood metabolomics, blood proteomics, clinical labs, dietary questionnaires, stool 16S rRNA sequencing data, and follow-up data on weight change.
For a subset of 25 patients who demonstrated extreme weight change phenotypes, investigators generated additional targeted proteomics data on obesity-correlated proteins in the blood before and after intervention. Additionally, they assessed baseline stool metagenomic data and identified baseline blood, stool and dietary features associated with weight loss, independent of age, sex and baseline BMI with regression models.
Investigators noted many features independently correlated with baseline BMI; however, there were few features correlated with weight loss. Diener and colleagues said baseline data were not correlated with weight loss. However, one blood analyte correlated with changes in weight. After controlling for age, sex and baseline BMI, 31 baseline stool metagenomic functional features, including complex polysaccharide and protein degradation genes, stress-response genes, respiration-related genes, and cell wall synthesis genes, along with gut bacterial replication rates, were associated with weight loss responses.