There is a huge internal ecosystem beneath the surface of the skin. About 100 trillion microorganisms – a mixture of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa – house the intestines.
In the largest and most detailed study of its kind to date, researchers are investigating how this gut microbiome is linked to it Diet and Illness. The team discovered that certain diet-related microbes are associated with biomarkers for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The study suggests Adjusting your diet to support your gut microbiome can be vital to long and healthy life
The findings, which could empower people to take control of their gut health, were published Tuesday in the journal Nature Medicine.
“Our results show how little of the microbiome is predetermined by our genes and therefore how much can be changed through diet,” study co-author Sarah Berry told Inverse. Berry is a researcher at King’s College London.
The study also shows that it is possible to manipulate the microbiome through diet and, in turn, get meaningful health outcomes, adds Berry.
LONGEVITY HACKS is a regular series of Inverse about the scientifically supported strategies to live better, healthier and longer without medicine. Find out more in our Hacks Index.
HOW THIS AFFECTS Longevity – Over the past decade, numerous studies have focused on the relationship between the human microbiome and longevity. What was missing, however, was a robust study of this link in a large, diverse group.
To close this research gap, the scientists started the PREDICT 1 study and analyzed the gut microbiome, dietary habits and cardiometabolic blood biomarkers of 1,098 participants. PREDICT 1 is part of an international research project on personalized nutrition that is creating one of the world’s richest data sets on individual reactions to food.
The group gave stool and blood samples and answered surveys. The researchers documented the participants’ body fat, blood sugar levels in response to food, physical activity, and sleep.
After analyzing the massive dataset, the researchers found that people’s microbiome composition differed depending on what they ate. Diet determined the composition of the microbiome more than other factors such as genes.
“While you can’t change their genetics, you can can definitely modulate your gut microbiome. “
The researchers found that participants who consumed a lot healthy, minimally processed plant-based foods had higher concentrations of beneficial gut microbes. An abundance of these “cheap” gut microbes has been linked to lower risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
In particular, a microbiome rich in Prevotella copri and Blastocystis species has been associated with the maintenance of favorable blood sugar levels after a meal. Other types were associated with lower blood lipid levels and post-meal inflammation markers.
Conversely, people who are more processed foods – those that are full of sugar, salt, chemical additives, and low in fiber – had very different microbes, colloquially called “bugs”, in their intestines.
The team identified a “clear, distinct, and novel” division of defects according to their favorable and unfavorable associations with food, explains Berry.
The trends they found were so consistent that researchers believe their microbiome data can be used to determine the risk of cardiometabolic disease in people who have no symptoms yet, possibly to prescribe a personalized diet specifically designed to improve a person’s health.
WHY IT’S A HACK – There is evidence that the gut microbiome is affected by every single meal. This study suggests adjusting your diet to support certain “good” microbes and reduce “bad” ones.
There is not a single harmful microbe that determines a person to develop disease or die early. In addition, there is no such thing as a “good” microbe that represents a silver bullet for longevity.
Instead there is at least 15 favorable and unfavorable microbial clusters this affects the health outcomes.
Ultimately, the fact that the microbiome is linked to certain metabolic markers is “very good news,” study co-author Nicola Segata told Inverse. Segata is a researcher at the Center for Integrative Biology at the University of Trento.
“While you can’t change their genetics, you can definitely modulate [especially via diet] their gut microbiome, “says Segata.” This can give more hope in therapeutic or prevention strategies, which can indeed be very effective and do not require complex or potentially dangerous treatments. “
SCIENCE IN ACTION – Based on this finding and other growing evidence, it’s important to understand that “your biology and gut microbes are unique,” study co-author Tim Spector told Inverse. Spector is a genetic epidemiologist at King’s College London.
“You have to find out for yourself which foods are best for your body and your microbes,” advises Spector.
“You have to find out for yourself which foods are best for you Your body and your microbes. “
One way to do this is to test your microbiome using tests at home or in your doctor’s office. The researchers suggest using the gut health program they jointly developed with digital health company Zoe Global to capitalize on the results of the study. The program combines a person’s specific microbiome composition with data from PREDICT studies to design personalized recommendations for eating. (Some of the study’s authors are consultants or employees of Zoe Global.)
“In the meantime, you can hedge your bets and try foods that are good for your gut, like assorted plants, high fiber, fermented foods, avoiding ultra-processed foods, and most importantly, lots of variety,” says Spector.
Like so much in health, there is no “one size fits all” solution, especially when it comes to the gut microbiome.
“This is just the beginning and we will soon have ten times the data linking microbes and food to provide even better advice,” says Spector.
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abstract: The gut microbiome is shaped by diet and affects the host’s metabolism. However, these links are complex and can be unique to each individual. We performed deep metagenomic sequencing of 1,203 gut microbiomes from 1,098 individuals who participated in the Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT 1), whose detailed long-term diet information, as well as hundreds of postprandial cardiometabolic blood marker measurements on fasting and at the same meal, are We available. We found many significant associations between microbes and certain nutrients, foods, food groups, and general nutritional indices, particularly determined by the presence and variety of healthy and plant-based foods. Microbial biomarkers for obesity were reproducible in external publicly available cohorts and were consistent with circulating blood metabolites, which are indicators of risk of cardiovascular disease. While some microbes, such as Prevotella copri and Blastocystis spp., Were indicators of favorable postprandial glucose metabolism, the overall microbiome composition was predictive of a large number of cardiometabolic blood markers including fasting and postprandial glycemic, lipemic and inflammatory indices. The group of gut species associated with healthy eating habits overlaps with those associated with favorable cardiometabolic and postprandial markers, suggesting that our large-scale resource may stratify the gut microbiome into generalizable health levels in individuals without clinically manifested disease.