Research by doctors from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles will have a report released in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism based on information they found linking obesity and bad breath. According to Discovery News, the doctors say certain gas-emitting microbes in the human gut play a role in a person’s weight, and the presence of these microbes can cause a release of methane and hydrogen related to excess body weight and fat. Although doctors noted that overeating and a lack of exercise are overarching causes of obesity, other factors, such as the microbes, play a role.
The link between microbes in the lining of the intestines and obesity has been studied previously, but scientists are trying to determine the microbe that causes the most damage. The doctors from Cedars-Sinai paid close attention to Methanobrevibacter smithii, a methane-releasing microbe that is suspected to consume the hydrogen that is produced by other organisms. By lowering the hydrogen levels, the body is unable to absorb nutrients and energy from food, which is what causes people to gain more weight. An abundance of this microbe causes bad breath.
“Usually, the microorganisms living in the digestive tract benefit us by helping convert food into energy,” Ruchi Mathur, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center and lead doctor, told Discovery News. “However, when this particular organism, M. smithii, becomes overabundant, it may alter this balance in a way that causes someone to be more likely to gain weight.”
In a 2007 study at Tel Aviv University, researchers found a direct link between obesity and halitosis. However, the researchers had no scientific evidence as to why obesity causes halitosis. A study published in the June 2012 issue of the International Journal of Obesity found that the microbe, Lactobacillus reuteri was most associated with participants who suffered from obesity, in conjunction with lower levels of M. smithii.