ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fact - Methane Makes You Fat

Updated on January 24, 2017 | Source

How Can Methane Make You Fat?

In a study involving almost 800 people, carried out at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, scientists found that subjects who had high levels of the gases Methane and Hydrogen on their breath were much more likely to be overweight than those people who had normal levels. A microorganism known as M.smithii (Methanobrevibacter smithii) that lives in the gut is what causes Methane production. These microorganisms are archaea not bacteria. M.smithii is a scavenger and removes Hydrogen from microbes present in the gut.

An abundance of both of these gases was shown to link directly to a higher BMI and more body fat. The BMI of the study group with both excess Hydrogen and Methane was on average, 7 points higher than those with just Methane or Hydrogen or neither. In addition they weighed almost 15 pounds more than people with lower levels of Methane.


What happens when there is an imbalance

When there is an imbalance, certain individuals become obese because the microorganism is too efficient. The normal process of the microorganism is to convert the food ingested into energy. When there is a surfeit of M.smithii the person is more likely to gain weight because the hydrogen producing bacteria multiply and due to the increase in their number they become over efficient at the task of extracting calories from food. In effect these people are taking more calories from food than they require and in time they will gain weight. Another theory is that the production of methane slows down the digestive process and so allows the body to extract more calories from the food. | Source

How do you know you have an imbalance?

Normally it is detected during a gas imbalance test which is sometimes also known as a Hydrogen Test. The usual reason for having one of these is because of some form of food intolerance such as the inability to digest fructose or lactose. It is commonly used in the diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) The test is non-invasive and does not cause any pain. After fasting for 12 hours a breath sample is taken by means of blowing into a balloon. Then a solution containing fructose or some other sugar is given and breath tests are taken over the next couple of hours. If an imbalance of either hydrogen, methane or both is present it will show up. | Source

Won’t exercise and eating less fix this?

It may do but what must be remembered is that this type of overweight person is not necessarily overeating or being lazy. They could be eating a perfectly healthy diet and having the optimal amount of exercise. However, because their body is being overly efficient; it is extracting more than that normal amount of calories usually extracted. So they are in one sense overeating but not of their own volition. It would appear that the only way to fix the imbalance is to eradicate the archaea M.smithii.

How can Methanobrevibacter smithii be got rid of?

Now there lies a problem. It is unclear whether an antibiotic would work since M.smithii is not a bacterium. Also, it may not be possible to get rid of it without harming all the good bugs in the gut. There has been research which revealed that the gut flora is dramatically altered after a gastric bypass operation; making the microbiota more like that of a thin person. As yet it hasn’t been worked out whether it is the surgical intervention or the losing of the excess weight that causes this change. So for the time being, sadly, it is a matter of playing the waiting game until more research is done.

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)