Is gut flora related to set point?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 26, 2012 at 4:11 AM

I read recently a lot of opinions about gut flora. I have heard that we get our flora at birth and in childhood and what you get is what you get. After that it's highly unlikely we can change it much. I don't know if that is true.

I have also recently read that gut flora might have something to do with obesity, that if you give a fat person the gut flora of a thin one they lose weight. I have no idea if that is true, either.

I was born vaginally and breast fed. I grew up in the 60s and 70s on the SAD, which means pre-HFCS and back in the time when mom cooked everything from scratch, bought bread from the bakery, used margarine, crisco, white flour but basically nothing made by corporations. Not a great diet but not as bad as nowadays. Your basic meat and potatoes and strawberry jello salad cuisine. It's possible that my childhood diet either a) influenced my gut flora or b) influenced my general metabolism, or both.

I recently was given a book with pictures of me going back to babyhood. I have always been chubby. Rounded limbs, thick waist, sturdy build. Just a little bit fat. My weight has fluctuated and I recently brought it down with a paleo diet. I was able to effortlessly reduce my weight back to that same set point I had as a child. With exercise I can play around with being more or less muscular, but I remain basically the same rounded and sturdy shape and never get much smaller than I am now.

I'm sorry this question is so poorly written. Do you think that there is a possibility that your gut flora determines your weight set point? Would it make sense that what you were as a child is your potential as an adult, that your gut flora really is set in childhood and that's pretty much your lot in life?



on September 11, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Hmm. Interesting. I figured there wasn't enough known, but thought I would ask anyway.



on June 26, 2012
at 10:14 AM

Sorry to nit pick, but weren't margarine, crisco, white flour made by corporations? I do agree cooking at home was still better than pre-made food and restaurants.

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3 Answers


on September 10, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Your gut flora defiantly has some interaction with weight set point. I don't think the science is far enough along to know which is the cause and which is the effect.

"After that it's highly unlikely we can change it much." <-- totally untrue. When women get pregnant there gut flora changes dramatically, It actually resembles the gut flora of morbidly obese people. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/08/02/are-those-the-gut-microbes-of-an-unhealthy-person-or-a-pregnant-one/

From an intuitive standpoint, this finding is not that shocking. Morbidly obese people are in weight gain mode, so are pregnant mothers (albeit for different reasons).

Does the gut flora cause the weight gain, or the weight gain change the gut flora? not enough evidence to say, but i put my money on the latter.



on September 11, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Hmm. Interesting. I figured there wasn't enough known, but thought I would ask anyway.


on August 19, 2012
at 05:35 PM

I recently began making my own kefir, a probiotic drink made with bacteria/yeast cultures and raw milk, to address some gut flora issues. Since drinking it, I've eliminated several food sensitivities. Kefir is a fascinating substance used to promote healthy gut flora. It is becoming very popular lately, so fact and mythology are kind of stewing together at the moment. I would recommend the slightly goofy but informative site by [Dominic Anfiteatro][1], and the more concisely presented information at [culturesforhealth.com][2] to learn more.



on June 26, 2012
at 07:21 AM

it's a very interesting and therefore useful question. i do think that if left alone, gut flora is gut flora, but we may be able to alter it by routinely doing things like fecal transplants, etc.

i do think that our childhood greatly effects our adulthood, and if we don't drastically alter things then we are stuck in a certain pattern. and by drastically i am talking about things like prohormones, anabolic steroids, cell therapy, stem cells, etc.

many people probably are lucky enough to never need these things. many people are unlucky enough to need to figure out how to save themselves and avoid the witch-hunt of society.

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