Scientific evidence is pouring in on the topic of weight management & the microbiome & the evidence is clear: the balance of microbes within your body determines to a large extent the weight (& health) outcomes you experience!

In a querky, unique study, researchers have discovered that drastic shifts occur in the microbiomes of bears during different stages of the year. During summer time, when bears are required to add significant weight stores for hibernation, their microbial population alters to one of highly efficient fat storage mode. Specifically, researchers discovered that the levels of Firmicutes bacteria increased dramatically & the levels of Bacteroidites were largely reduced during times of weightgain – the opposite was true during winter!

Studies have also been done on humans in this area, whereby researchers note similar phenomenons in the human body – as I wrote in my award nominated article Gut Bacteria May Be The Key To Weight Loss.

To solidify the evidence gained from the study, researchers then inoculated germ-free mice with bear microbes from different stages of the year (weight gain for hibernation stage & hibernation) & noticed that the metabolic effects could be transplanted & was dependent on the microbiome sample. Those mice who received a high firmicutes population from summer-bears (trying to gain weight for hibernation) also experienced increased weight gain compared with controls! But on an extremely interesting note, these mice who received the summer-bear microbiomes did not suffer typical metabolic detriments associated with obesity! Potentially, the natural mechanism for bears to gain weight also has a safety mechanism in place to protect the host from metabolic damage resulting from obesity!

Once again we are seeing the typical weight management model of ‘energy in V energy out’ scientifically challenged. This could explain the reason why obesity seems to be ‘passed on’ through families, as the mother’s microbiome inoculates the newborn & thus influences energy harvesting from food. In my book, The Gut Healing Protocol, I discuss this further & offer scientifically supported suggestions on how to rebalance your gut microbes!

This post was brought to you by The Gut Healing Protocol – an 8 week, holistic guide to rebalancing your gut!



Resources for this article include: 

Felix Sommer, Marcus Ståhlman, Olga Ilkayeva, Jon M. Arnemo, Jonas Kindberg, Johan Josefsson, Christopher B. Newgard, Ole Fröbert, Fredrik Bäckhed. The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos. Cell Reports, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.026