An emerging body of evidence supports the effects of gut microflora on metabolic factors and weight gain. Researchers from University College Cork in Ireland report that an enzyme called bile salt hydrolase (BSH) is made by gut bacteria. BSH changes the chemical properties of bile acids which are stored in the gall bladder and help break up dietary fats for digestion. The net effect is a reduction in serum cholesterol levels and weight gain in mice. This research and others like it may someday lead to probiotic formulations specific for the control of obesity and hypercholesterolemia.
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