Toxins leaking from the gut ‘damage fat cells and promote weight gain’
Research suggests that bacterial fragments entering the body from the gut damage fat cells and lead to weight gain.
Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have found that these microbial fragments, known as endotoxins, can enter the bloodstream and directly affect fat cell function.
The researchers said their findings, recently published in the journal BMC Medicine, shed light on how endotoxins can lead to obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes.
They also added that weight-loss procedures like bariatric surgery “can reverse the damage our gut can do to our fat cells, which will ultimately have major implications for our health.”
Endotoxins are toxic substances present in the cell walls of bacteria that are released when they rupture or break down.
In a healthy gut, endotoxins are part of the life cycle of microbes that play a key role in overall human health.
In obese people, the intestinal barrier is more fragile and can leak, allowing endotoxins to leak into the blood and thus to other parts of the body.
For the study, the researchers looked at 156 people, 63 of whom were classified as obese.
Their goal was to understand the role of endotoxins in increasing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The team collected blood and fat samples from participants, including people with obesity who had undergone bariatric surgery.
They studied two types of fat cells: white fat cells, which store energy, and brown fat cells, which use energy and are associated with metabolic activities.
They found that white fat cells derived from obese people are less likely to turn into brown fat cells compared to fat cells from lean people.
The researchers said this was likely due to the higher levels of endotoxin in the blood of participants with obesity.
The team also found that bariatric surgery reduced the amount of endotoxins in the participants’ blood, which was linked to improved metabolic health of fat cells.
Lead researcher Professor Mark Christian, from Nottingham Trent University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, said: “Gut microbial fragments entering the bloodstream reduce the normal functioning of fat cells and their metabolic activity, which is exacerbated with weight gain and contributes to an increased risk of diabetes. “
“It appears that as we gain weight, our fat stores are less able to limit the damage that gut microbial fragments can cause to fat cells.
“Intestinal endotoxin decreases the metabolic activity of fat cells and their ability to become ‘brown fat cells’, which can aid in weight loss.
“Our study underscores the importance of gut and fat as important interconnected organs that influence our metabolic health.”
He added, “Hence, this work suggests that the need to limit endotoxin-induced damage to fat cells is all the more important when one is overweight, as endotoxin helps reduce healthy cellular metabolism.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/toxin-gut-weight-gain-science-scientists-nottingham-trent-university-b1082583.html Toxins leaking from the gut ‘damage fat cells and promote weight gain’