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Diet influences gut microbiome and human health (2018-05-17)

Recent studies have suggested that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in modulating risk of several chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

“Every time you diet, it’s causing fluctuations in the compositions of your gut bacteria and basically destabilizing that community,” William DePaolo, a UW Medicine microbiome expert and director of the Center for Microbiome Research and Therapeutics said.

The changes in what you eat can have positive or negative consequences to your overall health, he said.

A healthy and varied diet – one high in fiber, fruits, vegetables and lean meats – is generally considered good for your gut.

Fad diets, which focus on one food group or which eliminate variety in the diet, generally have a negative effect on the microbiome and potentially, your long-term health, he said. In short, you are what you eat. Especially in your gut.

“If you change your diet,” DePaolo said, “some of the consequences of that is bacteria now express different genes that could predispose an individual to inflammation that could cause serious health consequences or long-term chronic disease.”

Experiments showing that dietary alterations can induce large, temporary microbial shifts within 24 h.

Given this association, there may be significant therapeutic utility in altering microbial composition through diet.

A new review systematically evaluates current data regarding the effects of several common dietary components on intestinal microbiota.

Furthermore, the identity of these bacteria affects host immune and metabolic parameters, with broad implications for human health.

For more information
Journal of Translational Medicine
Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health

University of Washington
UW Medicine