People who want to lose weight and those who are at risk of having a disease can now benefit from a diet, which is based on the gut microbiome.
According to Medical News Today, system biologists at Chalmers University of Technology have been able to devise a computational algorithm, which has allowed them to determine the micronutrient content in various foods. The system made it possible for the researchers to estimate the relationship between diet and the metabolic processes in the human gut microbiome.
Systems biology professor and study team head Jens Nielsen also explained that their mathematical algorithm enabled them to determine the metabolic process of each bacteria type, leading them to analyze its relationship to the fundamental metabolic mechanisms in humans.
The study has been done in collaboration with Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition professor Karine Clement and University of Gothenburg professor Frederik Backhed.
The gut microbiome refers to various types of microorganisms that can be found inside the human gastrointestinal system. While there are about 300 to 1,000 different kinds of microbes in the human digestive system, a person’s gut microbiome is usually constant. In addition, the arrangement of the gut microbiome in each person is dependent to various factors, such as genetic factors, transference from the mother at birth, the type of diet, and long-term medication use.
Some experts were also able to detect links between the microorganisms in the digestive tract and conditions, such as stress, autism, obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. However, the exact process involving their relations with food is yet to be studied. According to Nielsen, given the associations between the human gut microbiome and some human conditions, the primary challenge at this point is to explore more on the causality of such links.
Despite the difficulty of understanding the causal relations between gut microbiome and the presence of health conditions, researchers have been able to extract one, as per Chalmers.
A study published in Cell Metabolism involved 45 overweight subjects, who were divided into two groups. The first group included subjects with a varied gut microbiome while the second group included those who had low-diversity gut microbiome.
The trial subjects followed a low-calorie diet plan for six weeks and their blood and stools were examined for presence of substances the research team believed as indicators of disease and ill health.
Study findings revealed that weight loss was notable to all study subjects; however, the subjects with a low-diversity gut microbiome had decreased content of the substances known to mark ill health and disease. On the other hand, those subjects with a diverse gut microbiome were not unaffected by the six-week diet plan.
According to the researchers, the intestines of the participants in the low-diversity gut microbiome group produced fewer amino acids during the six-week diet plan. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and in the study, the amino acid levels served as a justification for the improved blood chemistry.
Nielsen explained that the findings in the clinical trial will benefit physicians determine overweight patients who are at higher risk of having cardiometabolic disease, leading them to advise and plan significant diet modifications. Meanwhile, Clement is expecting for future follow-up studies at this point, which will allow people to create dietary modifications that are specific to an individual’s gut microbiome.