The 'Good Bacteria' In Your Gut May Be Why You Aren't Losing Weight, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

If you've found that no matter how diligently you count calories, and no matter how regularly you exercise, you still have an impossible time peeling off the pounds, a new study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic may have some answers for you. According to the research published in the August 2018 edition of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the problem may not be anything you're doing wrong. You may simply have the wrong type of bacteria in your gut.

Every human being has between 200 and 500 strains of "good" bacteria living in his or her digestive tract. Without this bacteria, or "gut flora," the digestive system would not function. But the role that gut bacteria plays in overall health — not only of the gut, but the health of the whole human being -- is only now coming to be understood by science. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, gut bacteria can play a role in increasing the human lifespan, or in preventing autism — as well as an untold number of other functions.

"The bacteria live throughout your body, but the ones in your gut may have the biggest impact on your well-being. They line your entire digestive system," the medical site WebMD explains. "Most live in your intestines and colon. They affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immune system."

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Trillions of "good" bacteria live in every human intestinal tract, and affect every aspect of life from mood to longevity.

According to the new Mayo Clinic study, gut bacteria may also affect whether or not a person is able to lose weight. In the study conducted on 26 subjects at the Mayo Clinic Obesity Treatment Program, "gut bacteria among individuals who did not lose weight were different from gut bacteria in patients who lost weight," according to a summary of the research published by Science Daily.

Paradoxically, subjects whose gut bacteria performed well at converting carbohydrates into energy — a desirable and healthy function — also had the most difficult time dropping pounds, according to a Live Science report on the study.

"A gut microbiota with increased capability for carbohydrate metabolism appears to be associated with decreased weight loss," the researchers wrote in their paper, published on August 1 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The "microbiota," or, as it is sometimes called, "microbiome," is the entire ecosystem of gut bacteria. In fact, as a Newsweek report on the study noted, the number of microbes in the human body — including gut bacteria and similar bacteria that live elsewhere in the body — is 10 times greater than the number of a body's own cells.