Did you know that the majority of our intestinal bacteria are unable to use oxygen and are known as anaerobes? Of the many types of anaerobes, the two that have gained the most significance related to obesity are the Bacteroides and Firmicutes species. Most studies have shown that the more Bacteroides you have compared to your Firmicutes, the leaner you will be. So, if you want to be lean, you need less Firmicutes and more Bacteroides.

The reason these bacteria affect our weight is because they regulate how much fat we absorb from the intestines. If two identical twins eating exactly the same amount of calories, have different ratios of Bacteroides to Firmicutes, the one with the most Firmicutes will absorb more calories than the other, and be more prone to gain weight on the same amount of food.

In the context of the growing rates of obesity, why has the balance of intestinal bacteria changed to shift in ways that could lead to weight gain?

The following factors may be significant-

  • We now use more antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers.
  • We eat more processed food which is high in preservatives and sugar.
  • We eat more “dead or devitalised food” that is low in healthy bacteria.
  • We are exposed to more environmental pollutants and toxins.
  • Many people suffer with constipation. If you are not having at least one thorough bowel motion each day, you are prone to suffer with bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth.
  • Food sensitivities to gluten and over prescribed antibiotic drugs have caused many people to have a leaky gut.

The antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers are problems because they kill good bacteria as well as bad ones.

What can we do to restore a healthy gut flora in ways that reduce obesity?

Eat a diet high in vegetables, as the fiber in them helps feed healthy gut bacteria. If you are prone to constipation, Colon Detox capsules contain all natural herbal ingredients to help cleanse your colon of waste material that can leave you feeling overweight, bloated and sluggish.

Avoid refined sugars and processed carbohydrates. Firmicutes are so well-suited to grow on sugars that they’re known to grow in an out of control way in factories that process sugar-cane into table sugar. If you eat a lot of sugar, the waste products this bacteria produces get through your gut lining and travel to your liver. This can cause a fatty liver and it severely compromises your liver’s ability to burn fat. My liver tonic Livatone help to regenerate and repair the liver, restoring fat burning capacity.

If you have low levels of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, you will be more likely to have an unfavorable balance of bacteria in your intestines; thus weak digestion can increase obesity. Apple cider vinegar also improves stomach acid levels and digestive enzymes. You can add one tablespoon into ¼ mug of warm water and sip on that 5 minutes before meals.

Sleep at regular times and try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Studies have shown that our intestinal bacteria have a rhythm that changes throughout the day just like our sleep-wake cycle. Shift work, jet lag and inadequate sleep can all harm our good bacteria just like antibiotics can. A supplement such as Sleep-Eze, which contains melatonin, can help with sleep onset.

The old idea that it is the amount of calories you eat and the amount of exercise you do that are the greatest determinants of your health and weight, is now proven to be wrong. The most important things to do are eat unprocessed natural fresh foods that contain the right type of bacteria. You can also take a powerful probiotic such as Floratone and eat more fermented foods. Try to avoid the overuse of antibiotic drugs as these cause severe disruption of your healthy gut flora and can increase the tendency towards obesity.

For more information, see my book Heal Your Gut: An A to Z Guide.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.