Monday , December 18 2017
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Effects of Diabetes and Obesity on Normal Flora

A difference in gut bacteria has been seen in obese and diabetic patients when compared to healthy patients…. 

The human flora consists of trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. Researchers are looking into whether these gut microbes play a role in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The absence or presence of these intestinal microbes could be used to help determine the risk of metabolic disorders.

A prospective study was conducted, comparing bacterial composition between the healthy, obese, and diabetics. The study included 27 morbidly obese patients with an average BMI of 40kg/m2, 26 newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, and 28 healthy controls. Fecal samples were taken to determine four major bacteria: Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Bifidobacteria, and Clostridium Leptum. Overall, the three groups did not differ in levels of Bacteriodetes, but a significant difference exists in the Firmicutes, Bifidobacteria, and Clostridum Leptum. These bacteria levels were lower in the obese and diabetic group as compared with the healthy group. The Firmicutes bacteria was 4% lower in the obese patients and 13% lower in the diabetic patients (p<0.001). The Bifidobacteria was 14% lower in the obese and 28% lower in diabetics (p<0.001). Lastly, the Clostridium Leptum group was 14% lower in obese and 11% lower in diabetes patients (p<0.001).

This study showed that obesity and diabetes have some correlation with the intestinal flora. Future studies with more subjects are warranted to help develop treatment for obesity and diabetes. Fecal transplant therapy could be integrated into diabetes treatment in the future.

Practice Pearls:
  • These absence or presence of these intestinal microbes can be used to help determine the risk of metabolic disorders
  • Firmicutes, Bifidobacteria, and Clostridum Leptum levels were lower in obese and diabetic groups when compared with the healthy group
  • Aside from probiotics, fecal transplant therapy could be integrated into diabetes treatment in the future.

Basaran Y, et al. Comparison of gut microbiota in obese, diabetic, and healthy control individuals. ICE/ENDO 2014 June 21-24.