Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gut Check: Do Interactions between Environmental Chemicals and Intestinal Microbiota Affect Obesity and Diabetes?

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gut Check: Do Interactions between Environmental Chemicals and Intestinal Microbiota Affect Obesity and Diabetes?

Article excerpt

The microbiota that populate human intestinal tracts vary substantially from person to person, and mounting evidence suggests these interindiv-idual variations in gut microbiota affect how a person metabolizes chemicals they may be exposed to. A review of the literature on this topic directed attention to a new hypothesis: that interactions between gut ecology and environmental chemicals contribute to obesity and diabetes [EHP 120(3):332-339; Snedeker and Hay]. No study has yet directly addressed that hypothesis, but this review comments on the strengths and weaknesses of studies linking environmental chemicals to obesity and diabetes and identities gaps in the knowledge of how gut micro-biota may affect the metabolism of these chemicals.

Studies reviewed by the authors found that differences in gut microbiota affected the toxicity of certain pharmaceuticals. Including acetaminophen and the chemotherapy medication CPT-11. The authors propose that the same mechanisms may be at work with environmental chemicals. Enzymes produced by different gut microbe species can render ingested chemicals either more or less bioavailable, thereby affecting their toxicity. In reviewing evidence on 3 dozen suspected obesogenic and diabetogenic chemicals, the authors found that at least three-quarters of them may be metabolized by gut microbe enzymes in a way that affects their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. …

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