Cheeseburgers are good for the gut

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Immune system

Cheeseburgers are good for the gut, say scientists this week, in
sharp contrast to widespread belief that high fat foods can clog up
the arteries.

A new study, published in the 17 October issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine​, claims that high fat foods can actually soothe inflammation.

This action may stop immune cells from attacking food as a foreign invader, report the researchers from Maastricht University in Holland.

Eating - particularly eating fat-rich foods - causes cells in the small intestine to produce a helpful hormone called cholecystokinin , or CCK, according to research by Drs Misha Luyer and Wim Buurman.

CCK stimulates digestion and gut peristalsis (the motion that propels food along the digestive tract), and also triggers satiation - the full feeling that prompts consumers to stop eating.

The researchers found that fat-induced CCK can dampen inflammation in the gut.

Rats fed a high-fat diet were protected against lethal bacteria-induced shock whereas those fed a low-fat diet were not.

CCK sent signals to the brain through the vagus nerve, the nerve that provides the electrical regulation for internal organs, including the gut and the heart.

In response to CCK, vagus nerve endings in the gut released a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine then bound to proteins on immune cells and turned the cells off.

The study authors believe this pathway might explain why the immune system does not react to food proteins and normal gut bacteria as if they were foreign invaders.

They also say that a body with a "food-deprived intestine" may be more vulnerable to a lethal inflammatory response, called septic shock, after a serious injury or infection, in other words, reducing inflammatory complications after surgery.

In a separate report, researchers have developed a mutant fat rat to enable studies of debilitating vascular disease.

They claim the Obese Zucker rat model, that mimics a human being that weighs 180 kilos, will help scientists to understand early vascular changes linked to obesity.

Related topics: Research

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