Can stomach bacteria prevent obesity?

3 June 2014

A germ that causes most stomach ulcers could also be linked to weight gain, suggests new research published in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Around 50 per cent of the world’s population is infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), but only 20 per cent of those carrying the bacteria will experience symptoms. 

The new study suggests that patients being treated for the infection experience a significant weight gain compared to those not being medicated.

To conduct the research, scientists reviewed data from 49 studies from ten European countries, as well as Japan, the US and Australia. The lead author, professor Gerald Holtmann, was then able to identify a correlation between H. pylori and obesity.

He said: "The rate of obesity and overweight were inversely and significantly correlated with the prevalence of H. pylori infection.

"The gradual decrease of the H. pylori colonisation observed in recent decades could be causally related to the obesity endemic observed in the Western world".

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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