Are Bacteria Making You Hungry?

Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria play a variety of important roles in human digestion and overall health. The growing popularity of probiotic drinks and formulas indicate that the majority of us are aware of the importance of GI bacteria balance and gut health, but now scientists have proposed that GI bacteria also exert some control over appetite.

GI bacteria recognise and synthesise neuroendocrine hormones. The microbiota respond to both the nutrients consumed by their host and to the state of their hosts as signalled by various hormones. They also contribute to the generation of signalling compounds such as amino acid tyrosine and tryptophan which can be converted into mood altering molecules dopamine and serotonin. Mood has a distinct affect on appetite and further study is being conducted to establish whether GI bacteria inadvertently affects our food choices as well as our appetite.


Norris V, Molina F, Gewirtz AT, Hypothesis: Bacteria Control Host Appetites, Journal of Bacteriology, 2012.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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