Obesity, a disorder prevalent among today’s population, is a major influencer of human health and wellness. Research suggests that your gut microbial community could influence the risk for obesity. This hypothesis was supported by a recent study that was aimed at developing therapeutics for individuals struggling with weight loss. The study also provides an insight into the role of Gastrokine-1 protein (GKN-1) in obesity. The results suggest that with more research, therapies that focus on the activity of GKN-1 can be developed to provide potential solutions to obesity.
Obesity - An Introduction
Obesity is a disorder characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the body. Body Mass Index (BMI) is an inexpensive and easy screening method for weight category - underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese.
A BMI over or equal to 30 indicates obesity in adults. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight by the square of their height.
Common Causes of Obesity
- Excessive intake of energy-rich foods, especially those high in fats and sugars
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Genetic factors
Health Implications of Obesity
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Osteoarthritis (Cartilage and bone breakdown in joints)
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Mental illnesses
- Sleep apnea (Sleep disorder causing breathing problems)
- Reproductive Disorders
Gastro Kinase-1 Protein and Obesity
Gastro Kinase-1 (GKN-1) is a protein that is produced exclusively and abundantly in the stomach. This protein is resistant to digestion. It passes through the intestine and interacts with microbes in the gut. A study published in Scientific Reports, co-authored by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, has reported that GKN-1 levels are linked to body composition.
The study examined the effects of the presence and absence of GKN-1 protein on body composition. It was conducted on two groups of mouse models - one with the GKN-1 protein and one without it. The following parameters were considered:
- Food intake
- Blood sugar levels
- Caloric extraction
- Triglyceride levels
- Insulin levels
It was found that mouse models without the GKN-1 protein weighed less and had higher percentages of lean mass, and lower body fat, despite consuming the same amount of food.
Further, when on a high-fat diet, the mice without the GKN-1 protein showed resistance to increased body fat, weight gain, and hepatic inflammation - a causative factor of liver disease. These effects were noticeable and consistent in both the sexes.
Researchers observed that the absence of the GKN-1 protein didn’t result in any adverse effects like cancer, diabetes, loss of appetite, malabsorption, or inflammation.
At this stage, however, it cannot be concluded that blocking GKN-1 protein can prevent obesity. Researchers seem to think of it as a potential therapeutic solution, to improve the quality of life for obese patients.
Recommendations To Boost Your Gut Bacteria
- A fiber-rich diet makes gut bacteria thrive. Whole grains, green peas, beans, and lentils are some rich sources of fiber you can consume to increase gut bacteria.
- Probiotic foods like yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, miso, and pickles can help your gut bacteria flourish.
- Polyphenols increase the population of gut bacteria and thus promote gut health. Some polyphenol-rich foods are almonds, dark chocolate, and green tea.
- Aerobic exercises can help improve the diversity of gut bacteria. Regular swimming, jogging, or even dancing can benefit your gut health.
- Obesity is a disorder characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the body.
- Gut bacteria affect digestion and hunger, thereby regulating body weight.
- A lower composition and diversity of gut bacteria is a risk factor for obesity.
- Gastrokinase-1 (GKN- 1), a protein abundantly produced in the stomach, interacts with gut bacteria and influences body weight.
- According to a study, mice models without the GKN-1 protein weighed less, had more lean mass, and were more resistant to weight gain when compared to mice with the GKN-1 protein.
- Though blocking the GKN-1 protein may not prevent obesity, it can be a potential therapeutic solution for obese people.
- Improving your gut bacteria can help maintain a healthy body weight.
- Consuming fiber-rich foods and probiotics, and performing regular aerobic exercises can help boost your gut health.