People who are trying to lose weight after the Christmas period might be interested to know that bacteria in their gut have a significant impact on weight management.

According to research published in the FASEB Journal, a deficiency of Toll-like receptor 2 (Tlr2) results in changes in gut bacteria that resemble those of lean animals and humans.

Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the journal, explained: "Every New Year, a significant percentage of us resolve ourselves to lose weight, but national statistics on obesity show that we're failing fast.

"This research linking gut bacteria to Tlr2 expression opens entirely new doors for weight control solutions, first by cementing Tlr2 as a drug target for obesity, and second by providing further evidence that managing gut bacteria may be an important and effective way to control weight."

The scientists noted that it is clear that the genes controlling Tlr2 play an important role in managing our weight.

Obesity affects a high number of people in the UK, with 46 per cent of men in England classed as overweight and 32 per cent of women dubbed as such.

Furthermore, 17 per cent of men are obese, along with 21 per cent of women.

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