To me, a very interesting gut connection is that of microbial gut balance to obesity, a condition plaguing one-third of Americans. Studies are very new on this subject of the link between the gut and obesity. In fact, there have only been a few. But boy are they changing how the world looks at the gut—namely, they’re really starting to look!

This new study builds on previous animal studies by looking at the effect of a probiotic (Lactobacillus plantarum) on weight loss. It is already known that there is a difference in the gut flora between obese and lean individuals. This new study found that when rats fed a high-energy-dense diet (high fat, high calorie) were also given L. plantarum, they did not gain as much weight as the animals who did not receive the probiotic. Another group received the less-friendly E. coli bacteria and gained more body fat than those who didn’t.

That’s right—changing the gut bacteria influenced the amount of weight and fat these animals gained. This is an exciting study, because it is just the beginning of what will be a fascinating journey linking the gut to obesity, and all the many conditions related to obesity.  

I’ve known for a long time that in order to heal the body, you have to first heal the gut. In order to heal your gut, however, you have to understand the importance of its function. The gut is not merely a food processor—food in, poop out—but rather gut function is the very foundation upon which your health is built. With an unhealthy digestive tract—and there are many different ways the digestive tract can be unhealthy—you will be less able to heal your body. So start with your gut. What are you waiting for?