belly fat kale brock study microbiome

Well we kinda’ new – your poo says a lot about who you are, what you eat & how you live. Now, researchers at King’s College London have found a new link between the diversity of microbes in human poo and the levels of abdominal body fat on an individual.

The research, published in Genome Biology, found that participants with a more diverse community of bacteria in their faeces had generally lower levels of visceral fat; an important marker for long term health & often associated with the development of metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Previously, this specific type of fat has not been linked with the activities of the microbiome but if we have been reading the latest science, it’ll come as no surprise.

From the release: The study of 1,313 twins from the TwinsUK cohort used data from stool samples provided by participants as part of their annual sampling to extract DNA information about faecal microbes. Researchers compared this to six measures of obesity, including BMI and upper to lower body fat ratios, but found the strongest links with visceral fat.

This observation may help us find the specific mechanisms by which microbes work in distributing more fat around the abdominal area. One might stipulate that individuals who consume more refined sugar (also a culprit in increasing abdominal fat) also have less diversity in their microbiome… time will tell whether the microbes are indeed the culprits. I predict that with all this research, the exploration by pharmaceutical companies into a ‘wonder-bacterial-drug’ is well & truly under way – expect new, patentable strains of microbes to be released from the big guys in the coming years – mark my words.

Importantly though, what we continue to see is consistent links being made between the actions of the gut microbiota & our resultant health outcomes. A consistent link found is…. the less diverse one’s microbiome, the more health issues they’ll have.

“This study has shown a clear link between bacterial diversity in faeces and markers of obesity and cardiovascular risk, particularly for visceral fat,” said Dr Michelle Beaumont, lead author of the study from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s.

‘However, as this was an observational study we cannot say precisely how communities of bacteria in the gut might influence the storage of fat in the body, or whether a different mechanism is involved in weight gain.’

Senior author, Dr Jordana Bell, from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, said: ‘There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that gut bacteria may play a role in obesity, and a number of studies are now exploring this in more detail.

‘Further scientific investigation is needed to understand how precisely our gut microbes can influence human health, and if interventions such as faecal transplants can have safe, beneficial, and effective impacts on this process’.

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Sources for this article include

Your Bibliography: (2016). King’s College London – Study finds link between faecal bacteria and body fat. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Oct. 2016].

Disclaimer: Remember to always work with your well qualified, nutritionally-versed practitioner when it comes to the management & treatment of illness. The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only & should not be considered medical advice.