We all have that friend or family member we think is “naturally” skinny. We attribute their ability to eat a lot of anything they want and not gain weight to their “high metabolism.” Science, however, is now suggesting that the actual ability to limit caloric intake from foods (i.e., energy harvesting) most likely comes from their gut flora, not their metabolism. In fact, these findings suggest that gut bacteria itself actually determines if we are going to be skinny or obese.
Here’s How It Works
Certain bacteria in the gut convert foods to compounds that lead to insulin resistance, fat storage, gas production and metabolites that cause inflammation. These bacteria also harvest more calories from each meal consumed.
Beneficial bacteria convert the same foods to compounds that increase insulin sensitivity, fat burn, prevent fat storage, reduce inflammation, reduces gas production, harvests fewer calories from each meal and actually improves satiety. This means our gut bacteria programs us to either gain weight easily OR be lean.
The good news? This programming can be changed.
Reprogramming Our Gut for Healthy Weight Management
The secret to reprogramming our metabolism has to do with the ratio of bacteriodetes to firmicutes in our gut. People with a higher ratio of bacteriodetes are lean. People with higher ratio of firmicutes are obese, have metabolic syndrome, have diabetes, and suffer from inflammation.
To build the ratio of bacteroidetes higher than firmicutes requires us to:
• Eat foods and snacks high in fiber;
• Reduce or eliminate as much sugar, artificial sweeteners and simple carbohydrates as possible;
• Allow the body to have a fasting period of 14 to 16 hours a day (five days a week) to allow beneficial bacteria growth;
• Consume the right probiotics with meals.
The consumption of fiber paired with the right probiotics is a key element to changing the metabolism. The right probiotics will convert fiber to short-chain fatty acids (SCAFs), which control the entire metabolic process. SCFAs regulate the balance between the making of fat (fatty acid synthesis), the burning of fat (fatty acid oxidation) and breaking down and absorption of fat (lipolysis) in the body. Fat burning is activated by SCFAs, which actually inhibits the production of stored fat and lipolysis. The studies published on SCFAs show a direct effect in the increased SCFA formation in the gut by good bacteria and their stimulation of fat burn, increased fat loss, and reduction in fat accumulation.
This is the most direct evidence there is for changing a body’s metabolism.
The probiotics that have the shown survivability and studies to support the conversion of fiber to SCFAs are called the bacillus endospore species. The bacillus species can be found in a variety of products ranging from bars to capsules from companies such as Silver Fern™ Brand and MegaSporeBiotic®. The formulations for these products must contain a minimum of 1 billion cfu to meet the requirements of the studies shown to convert fiber to SCFAs. Silver Fern Brand’s Wai drink mixes, for example, contain 5 billion cfu of Bacillus subtilis HU58 and Bacillus coagulans.
If there wasn’t reason enough before to improve gut health, this probiotic might now be one “magic pill” we’ve been seeking for long-term, healthy and sustainable weight management by reconditioning the body’s metabolism. When combined with a diet rich in healthy fibers and low sugar, the probiotic turns the body into a fat burning machine. This just might be the end of calorie counting for all of us.
Kiran Krishnan is a research microbiologist that has been involved in the dietary supplement and nutrition market for the past 16 years. He comes from a strict research background, having spent several years with hands-on R&D in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology at the University of Iowa, where he earned his bachelor of science degrees in microbiology. His undergraduate education was followed up with post graduate research in molecular biology and virology. He left university research to take a position as the U.S. Business Development and Product Development lead for Amano Enzyme, USA, one of the world’s largest suppliers of therapeutic enzymes used in the dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries in North America.
Kiran also established a clinical research organization where he designed and conducted more than a dozen human clinical trials in human nutrition. Kiran is also a co-founder and partner in Nu Science Trading, LLC., a nutritional technology development, research and marketing company in the U.S. Dietary Supplement and Medical Food markets. Most recently, Kiran is acting as the Chief Scientific Officer at Physician’s Exclusive, LLC. and Microbiome Labs. He is a frequent lecturer on the Human Microbiome at medical and nutrition Conferences. He conducts the popular monthly Microbiome Series Webinars through the Rebel Health Tribe Group practitioner training program, has as an expert guest on national radio and satellite radio and has been a guest speaker on several health summits as a microbiome expert. He is currently involved in three novel human clinical trials on probiotics and the human microbiome.
NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher. Supplements are not intended to cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness.
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 6/27/2016