Did you know that the size of your waist is the product of an intricate balance between food, gut bacteria and genetics?
September is here and with it the month of the Libras…a lot to do with “a balancing act.”
This month’s article is largely compiled by Organic Consumers Alliance (OCA)’s more youthful board member, Catherine Kinyanjui, who is keen on a smaller waistline, as most younger people would be: Other than exercise, what else is important to maintain a smaller waist line? This month’s article focuses on answering that question and more…read on...
- Firstly; the scientific evidence: Who better to share the scientific evidence than the innovative neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter on th critical role of diets, gut bacteria and genes in achieving better health outcomes, including a smaller waistline: Here: is a good summary: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-perlmutter-md/gut-bacteria-health_b_7428882.html
- Secondly; the narrative as shared by Catherine: Being an ordinary girl from Nairobi, Kenya, trying to draw that crucial link between my food and my health, it is only natural that I clicked on a story that read “How the bacteria in your gut may be shaping your waistline”. As usual, the writing did not disappoint. This post is a simple understanding of the relationship between your food, genetic composition and gut bacteria and the elusive waistline. The publication was based on a study that controlled for the effects of genes and diet, to understanding of the specific ways that the gut's living organisms influence a complex phenomenon like weight gain. As a reference point, gut bacteria (gut flora) is the microbe population living in our intestines. It is composed of tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes!). It can weigh up to 2 kg. One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us. Some key functions played by gut bacteria include: promoting proper development and function of your immune system, digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates, producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins, keeping bad bacteria under control and preventing allergies among others. The study conducted in Washington University and published in Science began with four sets of identical female twins in which one twin was lean and the other obese. Samples of bacteria, virus and protozoans were extracted from their stool and transplanted into mice whose intestines were a blank slate to ensure that the mice’s gut bacteria resembled that of the human donors. Despite eating about the same amount of the same low-fat diet, mice that got transplants from an obese twin began to gain weight and show fat deposits. The mice that got transplants from a lean twin remained lean. Further, it was observed that the intestinal flora of the lean mice also worked better at breaking down and fermenting dietary sugars than did their counterparts in the obese mice. The straight forward changes in the gut microorganisms cause changes in body shape and metabolic rates, as opposed to metabolism shaping the microbiome.
- For the scientific, medical and pharmaceutical community this is great news as it implies the possibility getting a “pill” that can control obesity.
- However, to the natural wellness and nutritional based practitioners, who also promote consuming organic foods and who espouse the mantra of “your health being your first wealth”, the ability to control your gut bacteria by growing “good bacteria” from probiotics, found in fermented milk and easily found pro biotic formulas, can be obtained from healthy foods and supplements shops. To put it simply, a diet of maziwa lala, fermented uji, fermented vegetables and even Muratina or Buzaa, will help control the weight and manage the waistline. As natural probiotics are culture specific, you can view an extensive list here.