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Composition of gut microbiome linked to diet

Wednesday April 14th 2021

Researchers have carried out a study looking for links between individual foods, specific gut bacteria, and certain inflammatory illnesses.

Professor Rinse Weersma, University of Groningen, The Netherlands and colleagues explain that the gut microbiome directly affects pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses.

In the journal Gut today (14 April) they report on their study of the relationships between 173 dietary factors and the microbiome of 1,425 individuals with either inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome or neither of these conditions.

They carried out gene sequencing on stool samples and assessed food frequency questionnaires.

This highlighted a number of likely associations, including different species of bacteria that are linked to consuming high levels of processed foods, or plants and fish.

The effects of coffee, alcohol, and fermented dairy were also explored, and high intake of each was linked to a unique combination of gut bacteria. In particular, fermented dairy products such as buttermilk and yoghurt were strongly associated with anti-inflammatory bacteria including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Enterococcus.

The team also report that their findings suggest a role for an optimised ratio of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, thought to be anti-inflammatory, versus omega-6 fatty acids.

The authors write: "In this study we have shown how habitual dietary choices can impact the human gut ecosystem. We identified dietary patterns that consistently correlate with groups of bacteria with shared functional roles in both, health and disease. Moreover, specific foods and nutrients were associated with species known to infer mucosal protection and anti-inflammatory effects.

"We propose microbial mechanisms through which the diet affects inflammatory responses in the gut as a rationale for future intervention studies."

Bolte, L. A. et al. Long-term dietary patterns are associated with proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory features of the gut microbiome. Gut 14 April 2021; doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322670

[abstract]

Tags: Diet & Food | Europe | Gastroenterology

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