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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Advisor

Bartley Rust

Abstract

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic with physical, emotional and economic strain. The associated multitude of comorbidities exacerbate the economic burden this disease has on the healthcare system, yet struggle persists in the endeavor to find successful treatment options and understand all facets of metabolism. While it is known that the human microbiome impacts disease, until recently this has not been sufficiently studied. The gut microbiome is further becoming identified as a metabolic organ having a significant impact on host metabolism. Lean individuals harbor a more diverse microbiota, extracting less energy from food sources. In contrast, an obese individuals’ microbiota is less diverse, yet extracts more energy from food. The obese gut microbiome changes with weight loss and exercise, becoming more diverse. While it is not yet clear how long these changes last, at a minimum, increased intestinal microbiome diversity is associated with an increased host metabolism. Establishing the ideal gut microbiome is yet to be determined. Probiotics and prebiotics may alter this microbiome though no clear evidence exists suggesting that this alteration can diversify in a way to increase metabolism long term, yet antibiotic use can decrease diversity permanently (Ursell et al., 2014). Gut modulation via fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) may become an effective therapeutic option for the treatment of obesity. Most widely known as a successful treatment for C. difficile colitis, FMT has the potential to substantially impact obesity treatment and its subsequent comorbidities.

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