A new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism has determined that gut bacteria protects against diet induced weight gain and inflammation when mice were exposed to a fish oil diet compared against a lard diet.
Mice were fed with fish oil or lard for 11 weeks and monitored signs of metabolic health and had very different gut bacteria. The fish oil diet increased the abundance of bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila, known to reduce weight gain and improve glucose metabolism in mice.
“We wanted to determine whether gut microbes directly contribute to the metabolic differences associated with diets rich in healthy and unhealthy fats,” said first study author Robert Caesar of the University of Gothenburg. “Even though the study was done in mice, our goal is to identify interventions for optimizing metabolic health in humans.”
“We were surprised that the lard and the fish oil diet, despite having the same energy content and the same amount of dietary fiber–which is the primary energy source for the gut bacteria–resulted in fundamentally different gut microbiota communities and that the microbiota per se had such large effects on health,” Caesar said.
The researchers indicate that the bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila is a promoter of a healthy phenotype, but further research is needed to determine if bacteria can be used as a probiotic strain.