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Annual Microbiome Issue: Metabolic Health and Weight Maintenance

Dietary Polyphenols and Water-Soluble Fibers Support Healthy Microbiome Balance and Immune Response.


The use of bariatric surgery has proven to be highly effective in the treatment of obesity. The changes seen in the gut microbiota are seen to mediate some of the beneficial effects of the bariatric surgery. This study seeks to identify the durability of the microbiome changes associated with both Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG). The authors also sought to identify a causal relationship between the microbiome changes seen and weight loss in humans.

The researchers obtained fecal samples from 14 women, 9.4 years after they underwent RYGB or VBG, and from 7 women suffering from severe obesity (OBS) and compared them for differences in microbiota composition.

  • In the RYGB group there were significantly higher numbers of Proteobacteria organisms, and lower numbers of Firmicutes phylum organisms were seen versus the OBS group.
  • No notable differences were seen in the RYGB group versus the VBG group.
  • Several metabolism pathways were enriched in response to RYGB and VBG including amino acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, and glutathione metabolism.
Key Message:

The gut microbiome modulates its function based on environment, with specific changes in response to both RYGB and VBG. The changes of microbiota are long lasting and present to support the modified needs of digestion in response to either procedure.

Key Points:
  • The microbiome has the power to affect how the body metabolizes amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids.
  • Supporting appropriate balance of the microbiome will promote healthy energy metabolism and promote the maintenance of appropriate weight.

Healthy Blood Sugar Metabolism with a Balanced Microbiome and Healthy Vitamin D Levels


Connections between gut microbiota and the progression of diabetes is currently poorly understood. This study primarily examined the effect of high dose (50,000IU) vitamin D once weekly of 115 African American males with low vitamin D status. At the end of the study the subjects were placed into 2 groups – those with stable normal glucose (Gr-1) and those with impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose (Gr-2).

At the exit of the study, researchers also analyzed a stool specimen and compared the two groups across several factors. The factors included: microbiota ratios, dietary intakes, hemoglobin A1c, and serum vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)) levels. Clear differences existed between the 2 groups for specific ratios of microbiota. Additionally, the microbiota changes were associated with vitamin D status, dietary intake and hemoglobin A1c.

  • Significant increases in vitamin D (14 + 6 ng/mL to 36 + 24 ng/mL)
  • The Gr-1 group demonstrated higher levels of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria with lower levels of Firmicutes. The class of Bacteroidia were also found to be higher with Clostridia having lower levels.
  • Increased levels of fat and overall caloric intake was associated with a decreased number of Bacteroides, while decreases in Ruminococcus were only associated with increased overall caloric intake.
  • Bacteroides decreases and increases in Ruminococcus were both associated with higher levels of hemoglobin A1c.
  • Higher levels of vitamin D status were associated with normal glycemic states.
Key Message:

A key point to consider is likely impact of healthy and appropriate balance of the microbiome and the microbiota within. The results of the research point to the fact that maintaining this healthy balance may have a powerful impact on maintaining healthy blood sugar (glucose) levels and insulin response. It additionally calls out the fact that dietary choices and quantity play a role in the maintenance of both the microbiome and likely result in blood sugar control.

One of the main purposes of the study was to examine the impact of health levels of vitamin D on blood sugar metabolism. Appropriate levels of vitamin D demonstrated support of blood glucose status and was also associated with the healthy maintenance of the microbiome, thus pointing to vitamin D and appropriate microbiota ratios providing a synergistic effect on supporting overall metabolic health.

Key Points:
  • The combination of healthy vitamin D levels and a balance microbiome likely support healthy blood sugar metabolism.
  • Dietary factors, including appropriate levels of calorie intake and healthy fat choices both work to support healthy microbiota ratios and a vibrant microbiome.

Support Metabolic Health and Weight Maintenance Through Proper Microbiome Balance


Rehmannia glutinosa is a commonly used Chinese herbal medicine in the support of metabolic health and appropriate body weight. Additionally it has been shown to modulate a healthy inflammatory response, effect angiogenesis, and exerts a hepatoprotective effect. The researchers aimed to understand the association of the health promoting properties with effects on the gut microbiome.

Twelve females aged 40-65 years old with a BMI over 25 were provided steams roots of R. glutinosa over the course of eight weeks. Anthropometric measurements were taken every two weeks with fecal samples examined at the beginning and end of the intervention.

  • All subjects showed significantly decreased waist circumferences (14.11 + 7.79 mm) following the treatment intervention.
  • Subjects on average showed approximately 1 kg of body weight loss and a 24% decrease in triglyceride levels.
  • Relative increases of the phylum Actinobacteria and genus Bifidobacterium were noted with decreases in the phylum Firmicutes and genus Blautia.
Key Message:

Rehmannia glutinosa may act as a prebiotic in supporting a healthy balance in the gut microbiome. This healthy balance promotes healthy metabolic function and weight management. Research has consistently shown improved metabolic health through the promotion of decreased Firmicutes and increase Bacteriodetes and Bifidobacterium.

Key Points:
  • The microbiome has powerful influence over metabolic health, with the proper balance promoting healthy weight maintenance.
  • Changes as simple of prebiotics to promote the abundance as the proper gut microbiome bacteria can yield significant results in short periods of time.

  1. Tremaroli V, Karlsson F, Werling M, et al. (2015). Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Vertical Banded Gastroplasty Induce Long-Term Changes on the Human Gut Microbiome Contributing to Fat Mass Regulation. Cell Metab. 22(2):228-238. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.009. Available at:
  2. Ciubotaru I, Green SJ, Kukreja S, et al. (2015). Significant differences in fecal microbiota are associated with various stages of glucose tolerance in African American male veterans. Transl Res. 166(5):401-411. doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2015.06.015. Available at:
  3. Han K, Bose S, Kim Y, et al. (2015). Rehmannia glutinosa reduced waist circumferences of Korean obese women possibly through modulation of gut microbiota. Food Funct. 6(8):2684-2692. doi:10.1039/c5fo00232j. Available at:!divAbstract
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2 Responses

  1. raquel says:

    Hi can pre and probiotic help to gain weight for underweight people? Thanks R.

  2. chefkath says:

    I have 3rd stage lyme disease. Magnesium supplements have been recommended to me many times. I recently started taking Magnesium Orotate for bowel movement. I got eye twitching and my blood pressure went up. On another occasion I tried Magnesium Citrate with calcium with the same results plus I also got heart palpitations. Can you explain why I am getting these results? Thank you