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Bacteria tell your brain when they are full
The short answer…….
Your digestive system, notifies your brain, in lots of little ways.
The I AM FULL message
The stomach is quick to appraise the brain of it’s situation – as mouthfuls of food land, the stomach distends and this s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, is registered by stretch receptors. As more and more food arrives, the stomach inches closer and closer, to capacity.
It’s prudent to stop eating, before capacity is exceeded.
So stomach FULLNESS is a rather important signal. But, relying on HOW MUCH is in the stomach, is potentially problematic. Volume doesn’t always correspond with calorie count.
So in addition to stretch receptors, the digestive system also monitors the type of nutrients that have arrived. The purpose of this is two fold. You do need to know the composition of dinner, to arrange for proper digestion and it also helps monitor calorie intake, but, actually counting calories is not that easy to do, when you’re still in the process of DIGESTING
Using play books for satiety
So often time, the brain resorts to play books.
Over the years, it’s learned just how many calories on in that pepperoni pizza, you’ve just eaten (hopefully). It does the maths and makes the calculation…….
Three quarters of a pepperoni pizza HITS THE SPOT.
It’s not a perfect system, but it helps keep tabs on calories in, until the exact amount can be calculated following digestion. Which can take several hours to be completed.
But, the digestive system is not just responsible for feeding YOU. It’s feeding your trillion gut residents, too. So can they let the brain know, when they’re FULL ?
This is what a group of French researchers set out to discover.
Feasting and resting
Working with E.coli, a common bacterial resident, in the lab, they found that just like humans, when bacteria have feasted, they take a few moments, to SIT and BE. When they are BE-ING, they are not actively dividing – in technical terms, they are said to be in a stationary phase of growth.
This BE-ing is preceeded by a flurry of activity, when each individual bacteria divides.
This is referred to as the exponential phase of growth.
Now, if you keep feeding a bacteria, it will divide again, but this is not what happens in the gut. Food only passes by……… when YOU EAT.
Feasting on a schedule
So when the food passes by, they divide and then they SIT, until more food passes by, a few hours later.
Dividing and sitting are different activities.
The team found the proteins that the bacteria were producing differed, depending on whether they were dividing or sitting.
One protein caught their eye. Caseinolytic protease (Clp) B.
This protein is primarily produced by SITTING bacteria.
What makes it special, it looks a bit like a protein we produce…… called alpha melanostimulating hormone (a-MSH).
Alpha what ?
This is part of the family of chemicals, that signals “I AM FULL”.
It works in your brain…….. and in your gut.
Your gut bacteria are letting your brain know, at this very moment, they’re full, so odds are, you’re about to be full, too.
So it might be prudent, to STOP EATING !
Aren’t they so………………………. helpful.
When gut bacteria are satisfied
They help keep your appetite in check.
The team confirmed the role of bacterial proteins in appetite control in both rats and mice. Animals injected with (Clp) B, ate smaller meals. Don’t get too excited, (Clp) B won’t be the next big diet pill. The team found, the animals did not lose weight, they kept their energy intake constant, by eating more frequently.
A paradigm shift
This study shows bacterial proteins are able to control both short-term and long-term appetite.
If you’ve got the “RIGHT” gut bacteria, this is re-assuring.
If you’ve got the “wrong “bacteria, this ability of bacteria, might not be ALL THAT HELPFUL. This research helps explain, the connection between gut bacteria metabolic syndrome / obesity
The take home message…………….
Encourage the GOOD GUYS to take up residence.
It’s not because you’re eating too many calories. The problem is, your smoking buddies moved on, leaving you with a gut full of the wrong friends.
Granny Smith apples contain lots of UNDIGESTIBLE BITS, and it is the UNDIGESTIBLE BITS that matter, they encourage “skinny” bacteria to move into your colon.
Stuck in the warm dark gut, your gut microflora depend on you to tell time. If you get it wrong, they get confused. And this is T-R-O-U-B-L-E.