Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Change in diet can rapidly change the human gut microbiome

This study from today’s Nature provides strong evidence for the quick-acting impact of diet on the gut microbiome. To address hypotheses suggesting that diet has a role in shaping the human microbiome, and especially in industrialized societies where diet has changed considerably in the last century, David et al. put subjects on either an animal-based or plant-based diet and sampled their microbiomes. They found that microbial community structures were altered as soon as one day after the first meal of the diet reaching the distal gut. The microbial communities of those consuming the animal-based diet increased in bile-tolerant bacteria and decreased in species performing carbohydrate fermentation. This study demonstrates the impressive plasticity of the human gut microbiome and may suggest a link between animal-protein-rich diets and diseases like inflammatory bowel disease.

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