Intermittent fasting shows potential benefits for obesity treatment and brain-gut microbiome health

Recent nutrients A journal study by researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles discussed the effects of time-restricted eating on background music and reviewed its potential effects in treating obesity.

Research: Brain-gut-microbiome interactions and intermittent fasting in obesity. Image Credit: Kreminska / Shutterstock


A major global public health problem is the obesity epidemic and its effects on metabolism.Body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2 Obesity is defined as extreme obesity when the BMI is over 40 kg/m.2.

There are several underlying causes of obesity, among which dysregulation within the brain-gut-microbiome (BGM) is important.

Effects of Altered BGM Interactions on Obesity

A considerable level of research has shown altered bidirectional signaling within the BGM system in obese individuals. These changes are mediated by endocrine, metabolic, neuronal, and immune-mediated mechanisms. This observation has been validated in specialized cells present in the gut (such as enteroendocrine cells and enterochromaffin cells) that are sensitive to many intestinal microbial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Following ingestion of dietary fiber, Microbiota Accessible Carbohydros (MACs), gut microbes produce SCFAs. It then sends the signal to the brain via afferent pathways in the bloodstream or vagus nerve.

The background music system is important in regulating eating behavior that helps keep body weight stable. Despite its complex nature, strategies to treat dysregulated eating behavior and obesity continue to be at the forefront of obesity research.

The temporal aspect of food intake has only recently received widespread scientific attention. This food intake regulates the gut microbiome and aids in the two-way interaction between the brain and gut.

Environmental factors influencing BGM interactions in obese individuals

Cheap, highly processed foods are widely available in developed countries. Studies show that stress can lead to increased consumption of such foods and weight gain.

Furthermore, increased consumption of highly palatable foods gradually lowers the reward threshold of such foods, reflecting lower dopamine levels in the brain. However, long-term consumption of such foods may alter the diversity of the gut microbiota.

The marketing strategies of the U.S. food industry have played a key role in creating and maintaining unhealthy eating habits for the majority of the U.S. population. It is shown that

Clinical implications and treatment of obesity

Several strategies have been developed with short-term efficacy in weight loss and improving metabolic health. Includes redistribution.

However, the impact of these strategies on the gut microbiota and the role of the gut microbiota on weight loss are unclear. Also, while the aforementioned diet showed significant improvement in the short term, the long-term effects are still inconclusive.

Several bariatric treatments, including various types of bariatric surgery, focus on changing the way the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract assimilates and processes food. Bariatric surgery is the only intervention that achieves robust long-term weight loss, but it is invasive, costly and has side effects.

In a study of patients undergoing bariatric surgery, alterations in the microbial metabolism of aromatic amino acids and glutamic acid and in the composition of the gut microbiota were associated with reduced food dependence, appetite, and altered food preferences. is shown.

Antiobesity drugs aimed at suppressing appetite constitute another weight loss strategy. Common drugs that target the hypothalamus include naltrexone, phentermine, bupropion, and lorcaserin. Unfortunately, these drugs have limited efficacy and are not reliable for weight loss.

Time Restricted Eating (TRE) and Obesity

TRE has recently received a great deal of attention and combines 6-8 hours of predominantly plant-based food intake with a 16-18 hour ketogenic phase each day. In contrast to intermittent fasting, TRE does not require a reduction in caloric intake. During the ketogenic phase, the body is able to burn fat instead of drawing from a continuous glucose supply.

During this stage, the liver metabolizes body fat to produce ketones. It has been hypothesized that cellular responses that were switched on during the ketogenic phase remain active upon resumption of the diet. Most of the research in this area has been on rodents, and despite impressive findings, clinical trial results to establish the efficacy of TREs are limited and inconsistent.


Complex bidirectional interactions within the BGM system regulate ingestion behavior. Many environmental and dietary factors can be detected to alter regulated communication within the BGM system, leading to hedonic food intake.

Temporal patterns of food intake have been found to play an important role in obesity and related metabolic effects. Based on results obtained from mouse models, TREs combined with a plant-based diet appeared to provide the best long-term benefits.

However, more human studies are needed to establish the beneficial effects of TREs to consolidate this form of intervention as a cost-effective treatment for obesity.

written by

Dr. Priyom Bose

Priyom holds a Ph.D. He holds a PhD in Plant Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Madras, India. She is an active researcher and an experienced science her writer. Priyom has also co-authored several original research papers published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. She is an avid reader and amateur photographer.


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