Gut Microbiome May Play Role in BMI, Lipid Level Variations

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Variations in BMI and lipid levels may be related to intestinal microbiomes.
Variations in BMI and lipid levels may be related to intestinal microbiomes.

(HealthDay News) —- Intestinal microbiomes might help determine not only body fat levels, but also blood concentrations of HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, according to a study published in Circulation Research.

Jingyuan Fu, PhD, an associate professor of genetics at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues based their findings on 893 adults ranging in age from 18 to 80. Fu's team analyzed fecal samples to get a snapshot of each person's intestinal microbiome.

Overall, the researchers found 34 types of bacteria that were associated with triglycerides and HDL levels, and with BMI. The investigators estimated that the gut microbiome explained 4% to 6% of the variance in BMI, triglycerides and HDL across the study group.

A few of the bacteria highlighted in the study are known to be involved in metabolizing bile acids that affect cholesterol levels. But Fu told HealthDay that much more research is needed to understand how different gut bacteria function in relation to cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease

"At the current stage, this field is still in its infancy," Fu said.


  1. Fu J et al. Circ Res. 2015;doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.306807.
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