Hungry? That might be the microbes talking

| | November 25, 2015

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Hear that little voice in your head telling you to skip a second slice of pumpkin pie? It might be coming not from your conscience, but from the masses of bacteria in your stomach.

Experiments in mice and rats suggest that certain microbes living in your body as part of the gut microbiome have ways of letting the brain know when they've received enough nutrients to reach their goal — creating a billion more of their kind. Those signals seem to turn hunger on and off in their hosts.

The findings build on a bounty of evidence that microbes play a key role in the physiology of appetite — and perhaps could help people with eating disorders.

"We have long known that after eating we get a feeling of fullness. Most have assumed that it is because our stomach or intestines are stretched," says Martin Blaser, director of NYU's Human Microbiome Program and author of Missing Microbes. "We never thought that the bacteria we were carrying could be part of that signal, but this new work provides evidence that that is what is occurring.”

In recent years scientists have been exploring the many ways the microbiome may affect its animal host's feelings and behaviors. To test its influence over appetite, Serguei Fetissov and his team looked at proteins produced by the common intestinal bacteria Escherichia coli.

Read full, original post: Your Gut Bacteria May Be Controlling Your Appetite


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