Appetite-Repressing Bacteria Linked To Cause of Eating Disorders


Anorexia and bulimia could be effectively treated with antibiotics, some researchers have suggested, after one finding discovered that a bacteria in the gut can stop the body from regulating appetite effectively.

Although psychological and genetic factors are obviously a part of eating disorders and their cause, doctors at the University of Rouen and Inserm believe that by conquering the physical factors, there might be greater hope for those tackling disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

The French national research institute noted that until now, research regarding eating disorders focused on psychological triggers. However, they have now suggested that digestive problems and amplify the mental aspect of the disorder. Specifically, the researchers found that a certain bacteria in the digestive system can interfere with the body’s normal regulation of appetite.

If the theory proves to be correct in later studies, the use of a single antibiotic could be used to destroy the bacteria and allow patients suffering from eating disorders to regain a normal appetite.

“We would have to know which different bacteria is affecting each individual, but if we know that we could choose the relevant antibiotic which works, and if it does not exist yet, we could develop it,” Professor Serguei Fetissov said. “It really opens up a new view on these disease. We have been so focused on the brain and the cognitive causes of these disorders, but it looks as though the intestine is also important.”

Despite the research, Fetissov noted that it’s still a mystery of the bacteria and the mental factors of the disorder interact.

“There does seem to be a logical connection, when you think that the main risk factor for these disorders is stress,” Fetissov said. “That could be psychological stress, physical stress, or intestinal stress. These antibodies are produced when the body is put under stress, in form of risk of infection from the bacteria.”

Fetissov added that the connection is merely theoretical.

Source: Medical News Today

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