Gut Microbiota Influenced by Dietary Intake

The effectiveness of dietary treatments could be influenced by the gut microbiota, according to findings published in Cell Metabolism.

The effectiveness of dietary treatments could be influenced by the gut microbiota, according to findings published in Cell Metabolism.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden observed 39 adult patients eating barley kernel bread for three days to compare the gut microbiota composition of healthy subjects who demonstrated improved glucose metabolism following the diet to those who responded the least to the diet.

The participants subsequently ate control bread made from white flour for three days, with a break between the two diets.

The researchers noted in a press release that while dietary interventions are used to improve metabolism in patients, they have a significant impact on the gut microbiota. The research team previously showed that the gut microbiota could be changed in metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, and that the gut microbiotic changes can influence factors likes obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The investigators learned that Prevotella, bacteria known for being linked to high fiber intake, was more prevalent in patients who responded positively to the barley kernel bread compared to those patients who did not respond as strongly to the dietary intervention.

The study authors then transferred the gut microbiota of the human individuals who responded well to the barley kernel bread into germ free mice, and saw beneficial effects in the mice after the gut microbiota was transferred.

“Our findings clearly show the importance of the interaction between the gut microbiota and the diet and contribute to our understanding of metabolism in health and disease,” Professor Fredrik Bäckhed at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg explained in the statement. “The results may help explain why responses to different dietary treatments are so individual.”

According to the researchers, these findings can aid the development of individualized dietary guidelines. In the future, they are planning on creating further studies to confirm if the gut microbiota can identify which individuals can respond to a specific diet.

“Our results also show that control of blood sugar is improved in mice supplemented with Prevotella if they are given a high fiber diet,” said Fredrik Bäckhed at the Sahlgrenska Academy. “Our findings could lead to a combination product with Prevotella and fiber from grains.”