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Gut Microbes Differ in Obesity, Diabetes

Research suggests changes in 'good' intestinal bacteria could affect health

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obese people and those with type 2 diabetes have lower levels of common types of "good" intestinal bacteria than healthy people, a new study reveals. The study was presented Sunday at the annual joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

The new study included 27 severely obese adults, 26 adults newly diagnosed with diabetes, and a control group of 28 healthy adults. All of the participants were aged 18 to 65 and none had taken antibiotics within the past three months.

Obese adults and those with diabetes had considerably lower levels of the most common types of gut bacteria than those in the control group, the investigators found. These levels were about four percent to 12.5 percent lower in the obese patients, and 10 percent to 11.5 percent lower in the diabetes patients. The research team also found that levels of the most common gut bacterial species, Firmicutes, were affected by body mass index and by hemoglobin A1c. Waist circumference and A1c also affected levels of Bifidobacteria, and weight and fasting blood glucose level affected levels of Clostridium leptum.

"Further studies should be carried out to elucidate if the gut microbial changes are a cause or effect of metabolic diseases," study lead investigator Dr. Yalcin Basaran, an endocrinologist from Gulhane Military Medical Academy School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey, said in a meeting news release.

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