Researchers have uncovered 26 bacterial species found in the human gut that are linked to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other conditions associated with obesity, reports The Baltimore Sun.
Researchers led by Claire Fraser at the University of Maryland School of Medicine report in PLOS One on their characterization of the gut microbiota of 310 men and women belonging to the Old Order Amish sect. From that, they identified three communities of bacteria — similar to previously reported enterotypes — though the researchers note that neither BMI nor metabolic syndrome traits were linked to any of those communities. Then using network analysis, researchers identified the 26 bacteria correlated with metabolic syndrome. Those bacteria mainly belong to the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes phyla, and make up part of the core gut microbiome of the Amish.
"We can't infer cause or effect, but now that we have results from step one and we can now look at what the bacteria are doing, it can give us more information to go about getting an intervention," Maryland's Brandi Cantarel tells the Sun.