What you eat may help determine what type of bugs thrive in your intestine, a new study has suggested.
In a study of 98 healthy volunteers, scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found the gut bacteria separated into two distinct groups, called enterotypes, that were associated with long-term consumption of either a typical Western diet rich in meat and fat versus a more agrarian diet rich in plant material.
A subsequent controlled-feeding study of 10 subjects showed that gut microbiome composition changed detectably within 24 hours of initiating a high fat/low fiber or low fat/high fiber diet, but that the enterotype identity of the microbe group remained stable during the 10-day study, emphasizing the short-term stability of the enterotypes.
The findings may have implications for exploring the relationship between diet and therapies for gastrointestinal disorders.
"It's well known that diet strongly affects human health, but how diet influences health is not fully understood," says Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, professor of Microbiology, who led the study.
"We found that diet is linked to the types of microbes in the gut, which provides a potential mechanism connecting diet with health," he added.
The study was recently published in Science Express.