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Intermittent Fasting and the Microbiome

Very interesting new study (in mice) showing how intermittent fasting (not eating every other day) stimulates production of short-chain-fatty acids (SCFAs) from the microbiome that lead to metabolic shifts in adipose tissue (fat cells turn from “white” to “beige” and shift from fat “storage” to fat “burning”) that ultimately may reduce risk for diabetes and obesity (in humans).

Intermittent Fasting Promotes White Adipose Browning and Decreases Obesity by Shaping the Gut Microbiota

Cell Metabolism

Available online 14 September 2017

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2017.08.019

Key Points

  • Every-Other-Day-Fasting (EODF) is a novel strategy for beige adipose development
  • EODF selectively induces white adipose tissue (WAT) beiging by reshaping gut microbiota
  • EODF reverses high-fat-diet-induced obesity and associated metabolic disorders
  • The microbiota-fat axis orchestrates EODF-induced metabolic improvement

 

Summary

While activation of beige thermogenesis is a promising approach for treatment of obesity-associated diseases, there are currently no known pharmacological means of inducing beiging in humans. Intermittent fasting is an effective and natural strategy for weight control, but the mechanism for its efficacy is poorly understood. Here, we show that an every-other-day fasting (EODF) regimen selectively stimulates beige fat development within white adipose tissue and dramatically ameliorates obesity, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis. EODF treatment results in a shift in the gut microbiota composition leading to elevation of the fermentation products acetate and lactate and to the selective upregulation of monocarboxylate transporter 1 expression in beige cells. Microbiota-depleted mice are resistance to EODF-induced beiging, while transplantation of the microbiota from EODF-treated mice to microbiota-depleted mice activates beiging and improves metabolic homeostasis. These findings provide a new gut-microbiota-driven mechanism for activating adipose tissue browning and treating metabolic diseases.

1-s2.0-S1550413117305041-fx1

Keywords

  • intermittent fasting
  • every-other-day fasting (EODF)
  • browning
  • beige adipocytes
  • gut microbiota
  • short-chain fatty acid
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity
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