What is the relationship between diet and health? This may depend on intestinal microbes!

The human microbial community is a complex microbial ecosystem whose composition plays a vital role in human lifelong health. However, little is known about the specific molecular mechanisms between health status and the gut microbiota.

To study the interactions between diets, microbiomes, and a group of small molecule chemicals (“metabolisms”) produced by these microbes, Dr. Jane Ferguson and colleagues analyzed the diets of 136 healthy subjects and their Microbiome and metabolome were analyzed.

Their data suggest that the composition of the gut microbiome affects the metabolism of the diet, which may affect the health of the host by regulating specific metabolites and their downstream signaling pathways. For example, ingestion of plant-based nutrients and artificial sweeteners is associated with differences in circulating metabolites, particularly bile acids, depending on the composition of the microbiome.

The team’s findings, published in Frontiers in Genetics, suggest that the composition of the gut microbiome can regulate the metabolism of dietary nutrients, potentially having a downstream effect on metabolic health.