Landmark study reveals link between diet, gut microbes and health

12 January 2021 | News

Some of the identified microbes are so novel that they have not yet been named Image source: PR Newswire Image source: PR Newswire

Diets rich in certain plant-based foods are linked with the presence of gut microbes that are associated with a lower risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to recent results from a large-scale international study that included researchers from King's College London, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), University of Trento, Italy, and health science start-up company ZOE.

Key Takeaways

  • The largest and most detailed study of its kind uncovered strong links between a person's diet, the microbes in their gut (microbiome) and their health.
  • Researchers identified microbes that positively or negatively correlate with an individual's risk of certain serious conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
  • Some of the identified microbes are so novel that they have not yet been named.
  • These findings could be used to provide personalized dietary advice for better health, based on gut microbiome testing.

The PREDICT 1 study analyzed detailed data on the composition of participants' gut microbiomes, their dietary habits, and cardiometabolic blood biomarkers. The researchers found evidence that the microbiome is linked with specific foods and diets, and that, in turn, certain microbes in the gut are linked to biomarkers of metabolic disease. Their report, authored by Dr Francesco Asnicar (University of Trento) and Dr Sarah Berry (King's College London) and coordinated by Tim Spector (King's College London) and Nicola Segata (University of Trento), appears in Nature Medicine.

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