You may want to blame your gut bacteria for those extra kilos and diabetes as a recent study has revealed that an excess of bacteria in the gut can change the way the liver processes fat and could lead to the development of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat around the waist. People experiencing three or more of these conditions are considered to have metabolic syndrome and are vulnerable to liver and heart diseases.
It is a common misconception that plant-derived dietary fiber contains zero calories, said Matam Vijay-Kumar of Penn State.
The study suggests that bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber and the production of short-chain fatty acids contribute to deposition of fat in the liver, noted Vijay-Kumar, adding that it may be detrimental to the liver if these processes become dysregulated, especially in individuals with excess gut bacteria commonly associated with intestinal and liver disorders.
Short-chain fatty acids may be beneficial to the host’s health, but could be unfavorable in certain contexts where dysregulated gut bacteria generate uncontrolled short-chain fatty acids for a prolonged period of time.
In the current study, the researchers found a link between unchecked bacterial fermentation, short-chain fatty acids and increased liver lipids that can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, leading to liver damage. They also found that overconsumption of dietary fiber may have adverse consequences in mice with compromised TLR5 function and gut bacterial overgrowth.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.