Disorders and Conditions, Metabolic Problems

The Role of Gut Microbiota in Energy Homeostasis and Cellular Bioenergetics

  Gut microbes are a fascinating subject that has recently gained the attention of scientists due to their importance in maintaining gut...

Written by James Moore · 2 min read >
Gut Microbiota

 

Gut microbes are a fascinating subject that has recently gained the attention of scientists due to their importance in maintaining gut health in living beings. Preliminary studies have found an interdependent relationship between gut microbiota and the host and its role in preserving energy equilibrium in mammals.

Gut bacteria and their host benefit from each other. Gut microbiota uses the nutrients absorbed by the host to thrive upon it and produce microbiota-derived metabolites, which helps the host ATP production in the colon.

Why is gut microbiota important? (featured snippet)

  • Gut microbes produce metabolites that help in energy homeostasis in humans.
  • These microbiota have shows anti-hypertensive properties.
  • Ongoing research suggests a possibility of manipulating the composition of gut microbes to prevent obesity, diabetes and other cardiovascular disorders.
  • Gut health facilitates digestion and regularizes bowel movements.
  • The live culture found inside our guts helps prevent gastrointestinal disorder.

Moreover, the metabolites derived from gut microbiota interact with the host’s cellular bioenergetic process resulting in alterations in the microbiota’s composition and reducing the chances of developing metabolic diseases and their effects on the host’s cardiovascular health.

These metabolites that interact with the bioenergetics can have results varying from maintaining one’s cardiometabolic health to managing hypertension and other chronic illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.

Short-chain fatty acids and trimethylamine help in improving cardiometabolic health and streamlining their processes. Hydrogen sulfide and nitrite metabolites have been proven to be equipped with anti-hypertensive properties.

What does this mean for humans?

The ongoing studies combined with the available data indicate that gut microbiota and metabolites can be manipulated by following a new approach that can help treat obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Gut bacteria have physiological and pathological effects on our health, affecting our bioenergetics and the chances of developing cardiometabolic disorders.

The mortality and morbidity rates indicate metabolic diseases and their cardiovascular complications as the primary cause. There has been a drastic transformation in dietary patterns and the way it affects gut microbiota.

With the times changing, our eating habits have undergone a massive change. Our consumption patterns have shifted towards a high saturated fat diet containing simple carbohydrates and an abundance of salt. Our sedentary lifestyle aids in disrupting the energy balance in humans leading to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular conditions.

The inactive lifestyle combined with poor eating habits leads to metabolic and other lifestyle-related disorders. The human gut is home to a complex microbial community consisting of bacteria, archaea, fungi, helminths, and protozoa. It is a biome whose composition is dependent on factors such as mode of delivery, diet, geography, and other environmental factors.

The host, i.e., Human beings, provide a place for the microbes to grow and reside. In return, gut microbes maintain the energy homeostasis and metabolism of nutrients along with other necessary toxins. The gut microbiota is an endocrine organ responsible for producing essential biologically active compounds.

How Gut Microbiota Affects Medical Conditions

Inactivity leads to excess energy accumulation, leading to cardiometabolic disorders such as obesity or metabolic syndrome. Gut microbes help their hosts regulate energy homeostasis. 

The altered composition of gut microbes disturbs energy balance within the body, causing various cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Let us look at how changes in gut microbes’ composition affect our health.

Obesity and diabetes

  • The primary cause of insulin sensitivity is mitochondrial dysfunction causing accumulation of lipids leading to diabetes.
  • Studies have shown a relationship between mitochondria, gut mitochondrial metabolites, and diabetic patients who undergo bariatric surgery. 
  • The flexible nature of the composition of gut microbes and the effect of dietary components leads to the hypothesis that manipulating gut microbiota could enable weight loss or even prevent obesity.
  • Using prebiotics, synbiotics, fecal transplants, and other ways to manipulate microbiota composition can facilitate obesity prevention. 

Hypertension

  • One of the significant signs of metabolic syndrome is high blood pressure.
  • Hypertension has been known to increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.
  • New data surrounding the role of gut microbes and their effect on overall health suggests the involvement of gut microbes in regulating blood pressure.
  • Decreasing gut microbiota with the help of antibiotics can help manipulate blood pressure influenced by genotype.
  • Making changes that lead to the fermentation of nutrients by gut microbiota can impact blood pressure. Regulation of expenditure of energy through gut microbiota by-products can help regulate salt sensitivity.

Conclusion

Gut microbes derive their energy by metabolizing dietary substrates and, in the process facilitating redox balance within the host’s body. This process of metabolizing and absorption of nutritional substrates generates numerous by-products.

The primary by-product is the SCFAs, the driving force that fuels the colonic epithelial cells. SCFAs are responsible for regulating the energy balance and maintaining energy equilibrium within the peripheral tissues.

More research is needed to derive a therapeutic plan that utilizes gut microbial interventions efficiently to regulate energy balance in mammals. 

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