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Study Examines Role of Gut in Processing and Distributing Fat

A recent study suggests that less than 20% of a person’s gut processes is due to genetics, with the rest being attributed to environmental factors. It also identified biomarkers for the build-up of fat around the waist, which is called visceral fat. Visceral fat is associated with a range of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.


For this study, researchers examined the fecal metabolome of 500 pairs of twins. Fecal metabolome is the community of chemicals produced by gut microbes in the feces. They found that 17.9% of gut processes could be attributed to hereditary factors, while the other 67.7% was from environmental factors. The most important environmental factor was diet.


The researchers suggest that this finding means that people can change their diet in order to change their gut microbiome and, ultimately, lose visceral fat.


Researchers from King’s College London conducted the study. It was published on May 28, 2018, in Nature Genetics.


Only 30% of the human gut bacteria has been mapped but previous studies have found that having a varied composition of bacteria in your digestive system is essential for good gut health and for good health overall.

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