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Episode 46: Gut Microbes And Obesity


Gut Microbes And Obesity

In our previous episode, we have tackled fiber, but we were also able to take a glimpse into its relationship with our gut bacteria. Well, what is the gut microbiome and how does it impact our health? Our gut (gastrointestinal tract) definitely plays a big part in our overall health and that’s what we’re about to dive deeper into on today’s episode!

What we eat certainly nourishes us, but it also nourishes the vast amount of microbes present in our gut. Because of the diversity and the huge ‘community’ these microbes build, it is almost as if there is an ecosystem within each one of us. Our guest for this episode is Dr. Supriya Rao, a gastroenterologist in the Greater Boston Area. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Obesity Medicine. She has a very keen interest in the gut microbiome.


Key Highlights:

Join me in this conversation with Dr. Supriya Rao and learn:

  • What the human gut microbiome is and does
  • The number of bacteria present in our gut microbiome and how much it weighs
  • The different types of microbes and their importance to our overall health
  • How too much antibiotics are taken as a kid could affect the overall health of body organs
  • The two (2) dominant bacteria phyla of our microbiome: Firmicutes and Bacteroides
  • Prebiotics and probiotics
  • Steps towards a healthy gut microbiome


The Importance of Microbiomes in Our Bodies:

  1. It is crucial in vitamin synthesis, especially Vitamin K.
  2. The conversion of prebiotic fiber into short-chain fatty acids has downstream beneficial effects.                                                                                             
  3. It is important in maintaining our gut integrity.
  4. It influences the maturation and development of our immune system. Eighty percent of our immune cells come from our gut.
  5. Serotonin and neurotransmitters are also produced in the gut. Thus, our mood and behavior are also affected.


The Difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics:

1. Probiotics – are a pill full of certain strains of bacteria.

             – only helpful for very specific situations.

             – are expensive.

2. Prebiotics – are fiber-containing foods that feed the gut microbiome.

             – are the foods that are helpful bacteria feed on and its carbohydrate is fermented then turned into short-chain fatty acids.

             – do not have to be in pill form.

             – naturally found from vegetables and fruits (leafy greens, leeks, apples, onions, oats).


How to Achieve a Healthy Gut Microbiome?

1. Eat a predominantly plant-based diet.

– wide variety of fruits and vegetables (nut seeds, whole grains, plant-based proteins)

– decrease red meat (bad bacteria, carcinogenic)

2. Exercise. Make sure to be active.

3. Get enough sleep (7-9 hours).

4. Add mindfulness meditation.

5. Drink enough water.

6. Always have a good support system.



Dr. Supriya Rao

“The genome of our microbiome is much larger than our own genome.”

“The gut is also thought of as the second brain.”

“Obesity is a very complex, multifactorial disease and there are various factors that can affect it—including our genetic background, decreased physical activity, excess food intake, all these different things.”


Dr. Avishkar Sabharwal

“We are more microbes than humans.”



Dr. Supriya Rao: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

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