Link between gut microbiome, diet may reduce risk for health problems
A healthy diet may be linked with gut microbes that correlate with a lower risk for developing conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a report published in Nature Medicine.
"This study demonstrates a clear association between specific microbial species in the gut, certain foods, and risk of some common diseases," Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, a gastroenterologist, chief of the clinical and translational epidemiology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a press release. "We hope to be able to use this information to help people avoid serious health problems by changing their diet to personalize their gut microbiome."
Chan and colleagues performed metagenomic sequencing on 1,098 patients enrolled in the Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT 1). The study included long-term diet information and fasting and same-meal postprandial cardiometabolic blood marker measurements.
Researchers found significant correlations between microbes, specific nutrients, foods, food groups and general dietary indices. They were able to reproduce microbial biomarkers of obesity across external publicly available cohorts and the biomarkers were in agreement with circulating blood metabolites that indicated cardiovascular disease risk.
Investigators reported Prevotella copri and Blastocystis spp. were indicators of favorable postprandial glucose metabolism. However, the overall microbiome composition was a predictor for a large panel of cardiometabolic blood markers such as fasting and postprandial glycemic, lipemic and inflammatory indices.
According to researchers, the panel of intestinal species correlated with health dietary habits overlap with species correlated with both favorable cardiometabolic and postprandial markers. This demonstrates that the PREDICT 1 study may potentially group the gut microbiome into generalizable health levels in those without clinically manifest disease.
"Studying the interrelationship between the microbiome, diet and disease involves a lot of variables because peoples' diets tend to be personalized and may change quite a bit over time," Chan said. "Two of the strengths of this trial are the number of participants and the detailed information we collected."