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Greater Array of Gut Bugs Points to Metabolic Health

People who have less diversity in their intestinal microbiomes tend to be heavier and have more inflammation and metabolic dysfunction than those who have a more robust portfolio of gut bacteria, researchers found.

In an analysis of data from the European consortium MetaHIT, about a quarter of Danish patients had little bacterial richness in their guts, which was associated with greater adiposity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia compared with those who had a greater diversity of bugs, Oluf Pedersen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues reported in Nature.

"The present report provides evidence that studies of alterations in our other genome -- the microbial gut metagenome -- may define subsets of adult individuals with different metabolic risk profiles," they wrote. It may help explain some of the heterogeneity seen with adiposity-related phenotypes, they added, providing clues as to why some obese patients can still be metabolically healthy.

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