Bacteria in the Large Intestine Play Positive Role in Weight Management

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07 Jun 2010 --- The Dutch research shows that short-chain fatty acids, in particular propionic acid, have a health benefit. After fat tissue has been exposed to propionic acid it increases the production of the satiety hormone leptin and reduces the production of another hormone, resistin.

7 Jun 2010 --- Short-chain fatty acids such as propionic acid, which are produced by bacteria in the large intestine, can improve the health status of fat tissue in the body. When fat tissue comes in contact with propionate the tissue produces the satiety hormone leptin.

This hormone makes people feel fuller, thus reducing their appetite. Propionic acid also reduces the production of resistin. Resistin improves the effectiveness of insulin. It especially appears that insulin does not function optimally in overweight people. These are the conclusions of research of Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) carried out by TNO and the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG).

International research shows that the activity of bacteria in the large intestine plays a important role in weight management. The bacteria in the large intestine break down food components that cannot be digested by the human body. In the process they produce short-chain fatty acids (acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid). These short-chain fatty acids are absorbed by the body and act as an energy source for a variety of organs, such as the gut wall, liver and muscle tissue.

The Dutch research shows that short-chain fatty acids, in particular propionic acid, have a health benefit. After fat tissue has been exposed to propionic acid it increases the production of the satiety hormone leptin and reduces the production of another hormone, resistin. The influence of propionic acid on the production of these two hormones has a two-way effect on the health status of individuals who are overweight or obese. On the one hand, it leads to reduced food intake and, on the other hand, to increased insulin sensitivity. The results have been published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.

TIFN is investigating how to increase the production of propionic acid by bacteria in the large intestine, for instance by eating specific foods or food components.
 

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