The Gut Microbiome and Obesity

  • George Kunnackal John
  • Gerard E. MullinEmail author
Integrative Care (C Lammersfeld, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Integrative Care


The gut microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria which play an important role in human metabolism. Animal and human studies have implicated distortion of the normal microbial balance in obesity and metabolic syndrome. Bacteria causing weight gain are thought to induce the expression of genes related to lipid and carbohydrate metabolism thereby leading to greater energy harvest from the diet. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating that alteration in the proportion of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes leads to the development of obesity, but this has been recently challenged. It is likely that the influence of gut microbiome on obesity is much more complex than simply an imbalance in the proportion of these phyla of bacteria. Modulation of the gut microbiome through diet, pre- and probiotics, antibiotics, surgery, and fecal transplantation has the potential to majorly impact the obesity epidemic.


Microbiome Obesity Microbiota Diet Prebiotic Probiotic Microbial balance Bacteroidetes Firmicutes 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

George Kunnackal John and Gerard E. Mullin declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyJohns Hopkins HospitalBaltimoreUSA

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