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Gut Bacteria Improve Fat Absorption

Another study has shown that certain strains of gut bacteria can increase the absorption of dietary fats,  allowing us to extract more calories from the same amount of food. The clinical implications of this, I guess, depends on the situation--famine vs. obesity.

The researchers explain that the presence of the Firmicutes species in the gut is very important in increasing fat absorption, indicating that a person’s microbiota can have a very real effect on their ability to absorb fat and thereby harvest more calories from the diet, said the researchers.

While previous studies have shown certain bacteria are important for proper digestion of food, the author says, "this study is the first to demonstrate that microbes can promote the absorption of dietary fats in the intestine and their subsequent metabolism in the body. The results underscore the complex relationship between microbes, diet and host physiology."

Further research has suggested that a high-fat diet promotes the growth of Firmicutes, the researchers said, which would then result in further fat absorption. 

Though the study was a animal study (not on humans), it offers insights that could help inform new approaches to treating obesity and other disorders (including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, etc.). In the future, scientists may be able to use this information to develop new ways to reduce fat absorption in the context of obesity (and associated metabolic diseases), and enhance fat absorption in the context of malnutrition. 
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Source: Microbiota Regulate Intestinal Absorption and Metabolism of Fatty Acids in the Zebrafish

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  1. I'm surprized Dr. Oz hasn't yet touted probiotics for weight loss. I'm sure he'll find a way to spin it.

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