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How does diet affect the thriving communities of microbes living in your digestive tract?
New - Research - Types - Foods - People
New research finds that the types of foods people eat really do impact the makeup of their gut microbiomes. However, the same food can have opposite effects in two different individuals. That means that the specifics of how diet will influence any given person's gut are still a mystery.
The microbes that populate the intestinal tract may have a major influence on human health. Researchers have found that gut bacterial communities may be linked to the difficulty some people have losing weight, and they could play a role in cardiovascular disease. The microbiome also seems to be intimately tied to the immune system, and thus it plays an important role in immune-related diseases and disorders, including allergies.
Studies - Diet - Microbiome - Knights - Live
A few studies have suggested that diet can influence the microbiome, Knights told Live Science, but the connection is poorly understood. He and his colleagues tackled the problem by asking 34 healthy volunteers to record every morsel of food and drink they consumed for 17 days straight. The participants then collected stool samples over the course of the study, which the researchers analyzed with a method called shotgun metagenomics. This method involves taking random samples of the genetic sequences in the microbes in the fecal material, Knights said, then piecing together what species and what genes those sequences came from.
This very detailed approach revealed that diet does indeed affect the gut bacteria. In a given person, the researchers could predict changes in the microbiome based on what they'd eaten in the days prior. For each person, they found a median of nine specific relationships between a type of food and specific gut microbiome changes.
Changes - Person - Team - Food-gut
But those changes didn't generalize well from one person to the next. The team found 109 total food-gut...
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