While scientists have shown a strong connection between gut health and obesity, their research has stopped short of pinpointing the origin. Irish researchers are now closer to finding the missing link — bile salt hydrolase (BSH) — in a recent study that could explain how gut bacteria controls your weight and cholesterol levels.
Bile salt hydrolase is a protein produced by gut bacteria that alters the chemical properties of bile acids (chemicals produced in the liver that are an important component of bile secretions) in the gut.
Previous studies have shown how “bile acids work as signaling molecules in the host, almost like a hormonal network, with an ability to influence [the] host metabolism,” says co-author Dr. Cormac Gahan of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork (Ireland).
This latest study concluded that increasing levels of BSH slows down weight gains as well as serum cholesterol levels in mice.
The next step in their research is looking for a human connection to this discovery. “The findings may be used as a basis for the future selection of probiotics or dietary interventions which target this mechanism to regulate weight gain or high cholesterol,” says co-author Dr. Susan Joyce.
Even better, Dr. Joyce says, “We now have the potential for matching probiotic strains with specific end-user needs.”
These latest findings go hand-in-hand with a 2013 review of studies that examined the value of BSH as cholesterol-lowering agents. Many studies concluded BSH-active bacteria were efficient in lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as total cholesterol.
They may also explain the findings in a recent blog post that demonstrated how a healthy diversity of gut bacteria may prevent obesity and protect patients from the damage done by cardiovascular diseases, including chronic inflammation and diabetes.
The best and easiest way to maintain a diverse mix of bacteria in your gut: Take a multi-species probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day.
Protect the gut health and boost the immune systems of your kids by giving them a daily probiotic made just for them, like EndoMune Advanced Junior.