Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Making You Fat?

August 28, 2012 2 Comments by Scott Isaacs, M.D.

A new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has shown that certain strains of gut bacteria are associated with increased risk for the components of metabolic syndrome.  The research was done in people from the Old Order Amish sect in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  This unique population was chosen because of they have a lot of homogeneousness in their genetics, economic and social status, and lifestyle, which decreases potential confounders.

To diagnose metabolic syndrome, an individual must have three of the following components:

  • Waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men, 35 inches in women
  • Triglyceride level greater than 150 mg/dL
  • Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, less than 40 mg/dL in men, less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Blood pressure greater than 135/85
  • Fasting glucose level more than 100 mg/dL

These criteria were developed by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The authors of the study wrote:

 “Certain members of the gut microbiota may play a role in metabolic derangements.”

In the study, 203 unique types of bacteria were identified. Of these, there were three strains of suspect bacteria. They were Prevotella, Oscillospira, and Bacteroides.

For more information on this study:

Zupancic M, et al “Analysis of the gut microbiota in the Old Order Amish and its relation to the metabolic syndrome” PLoS One 2012; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043052.

For more information on metabolic syndrome, please read my book Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism or visit my Facebook page.



  1. Lynn says:
    Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 12:17pm

    I think I need to fix digestive problems first, I began trying Paleo and only succeeded in gaining weight.

    There is just much conflicting information out there. Any suggestions tor a good resource?

  2. Scott Isaacs, MD says:
    Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 1:07pm

    Lynn, my books would be a good place for you to start.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *