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Obesity by Infection

Here’s a topic I suspect you’ll be reading more about during the next year. For some overweight people (though certainly not all), the villain is not overeating, or even eating the wrong foods, but rather certain bacteria or viruses in the intestines that change the way food is absorbed.

Doctors have long puzzled over why some overweight people, even on dramatic low-calorie eating plans, can’t seem to lose weight. Or why obesity runs in some non-overeating families (consider the idea that family members might be infecting each other).

A pioneering molecular researcher, Nikhil Dhurandhar, who coined the term “infectobesity,” proposes that an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines changes the way we absorb food.

Among the 500 or so species of bacteria, two major groups–bacteroides and firmicutes–seem to wrestle for dominance. When firmicutes were placed into the intestines of mice and allowed to proliferate, the mice gained weight even though their diets hadn’t changed.

Dhurandhar also has seen evidence that a common virus associated with colds and flu, the adenovirus, can cause obesity in certain animals.

The idea that bacteria or a virus can cause a medical problem unrelated to infection is not new. Thirty years ago, a small group of doctors believed that bacteria–not stress–were responsible for stomach ulcers, even as most doctors were convinced that no type of bacteria could even survive in stomach acid.

Then the researchers discovered Helicobacter pylori, and today doctors treat many ulcers with antibiotics (the researchers won the Nobel Prize in medicine.)

It’s too early for a treatment to be proposed, but the general feeling is that these “obesity bacteria” may be a consequence of taking too many antibiotics or eating food that has been laced with antibiotics.

You might want to consider an intestinal detoxification. Jeffrey Bland, PhD, has written extensively on the damage to our well-being caused by wrong bacteria. He suggests a Four R Plan: Remove (the toxins), Replace (bad bacteria with good), Replenish (allow good bacteria to flourish), and Restore (a healthy lining to your intestine.)

This can be accomplished with his product, UltraClear Sustain, the probiotic UltraFlora IB, and the simple eating program that accompanies the UltraClear. The whole detox takes about three weeks and, as related in his book, The 20-Day Rejuvenation Diet Program, people swear by it.

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