[caption id="attachment_64140" align="aligncenter" width="592"] obesity bug on breath could lead to weight loss breakthrough[/caption]Obesity May Be Predicted by Breath Test
Scientists believe a simple breath test may prove obesity or portend to a coming increase in body weight.
Sound silly? Not to those who are educated in these matters. In the April edition of "The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism" scientists discussed a breath test designed to detect the balance of microbiomes in a person's breath.
Microbiomes are the innumerable bacteria found inside the digestive tract of human beings. Everyone has the microbiomes which consist of both good and bad bacteria.
Scientists believe that an imbalance of the bacteria is present in obese people or those who will likely begin to put on weight. In human tests, patients were given a sugary lactose drink to consume and then breath tested at 15 minute intervals over a two hour period.
"Usually, the microorganisms living in the digestive tract benefit us by helping convert food into energy," said Ruchi Mathur, the lead author of the study and the director of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center at Cedars-Sinai. "However, when this particular organism -- M. smithii -- becomes overabundant, it may alter this balance in a way that causes someone to be more likely to gain weight."
"Essentially, it could allow a person to harvest more calories from their food," Mathur said.
Patients who were obese tested higher for the presence of hydrogen and methane in their breath. These gases are produced in higher levels in obese people and physically manifest themselves as bloating and constipation.
Researchers believe the increased gases are being caused by the bacteria Methanobrevibacter smithii.
The researchers believe this bacteria is responsible for people putting on weight. They believe their findings may lead to improved weight loss programs since weight-loss management is not a "one size fits all".
"This is an important study looking at bacteria in the intestine and how they are related to BMI," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The more methane and hydrogen in the breath, the higher the body fat." But, "we need more studies to figure out how bacteria is related to the growing obesity epidemic and what happens if we modify it," Mezitis said.
The study will be published in April's issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
On The Web:
Breath Test Might Predict Obesity Risk
Obesity 'bug' on breath may offer clues on weight gain