Scientists identify gut bacteria that can alleviate smoking hazard

2022-10-21 Xinhua Editor:Li Yan

A study by Chinese scientists and their U.S. counterparts has identified a type of bacteria in our gut that can effectively degrade nicotine, a harmful ingredient in tobacco that causes addiction and a slew of health risks including fatty liver disease.

A colony of gut bacteria was found to have reduced intestinal nicotine concentrations in nicotine-exposed mice, according to the latest study published in the journal Nature.

The researchers from Peking University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that Bacteroides xylanisolvens can degrade the nicotines accumulated in a smoker's gut.

Nicotine is known to activate a kind of intestinal molecule called AMPKα and these molecules contribute to the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to the study.

The study findings suggest a possible strategy to reduce tobacco smoking-exacerbated NAFLD progression, by employing bacteria that are naturally present in human gut and that have been used safely in food production.

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