Special edition: Microbiome metrics & advances

Negotiating the balance: The host-microbiota relationship

Preserving the delicate balance between the gut microbiota and the host is a life long task in order to maintain good health. © iStock.com

Insights into the gut microbiome in recent years have greatly accelerated our understanding of the role the gastrointestinal tract has in human health, well-being and disease outcomes.

Research has shown the sheer diversity of the gut’s microflora. For every human cell, there are ten bacterial cells. Human DNA is dwarfed by microbial DNA by 100 to one.

The gut’s microbiome has a crucial role to play in human physiology with influence on immune system development, and cardiovascular disease. Its role in weight management, insulin production and metabolism has led scientists to believe its role in diabetes and other metabolic diseases has been underestimated.

The microbiome and obesity

Science is pointing towards the gut flora as the hidden factor in the obesity epidemic seen over the past twenty years.

Recent experiments that involved transplanting gut flora from obese human subjects into mice, which resulted in the mice gaining weight, established a cause-and-effect

relationship between gut microbes and the prevention of obesity.

In addition, studies in humans and animals show the disruption a Western diet has on gut bacteria is growing. It has become apparent that processed food, high in fat and sugar is upsetting the gut microbes’ ability to ferment indigestible nutrients, produce micronutrients and reduce harmful toxins.

“We concluded that if you have a diverse gut microbiota, i.e. many different species, you can better tolerate being over-weight,” said Dr Jens Nielsen, head of the research team that sought to quantify diet-induced metabolic changes of the human gut microbiome.

“If you have a compressed gut microbiota you are at elevated risk for developing disease if you are over-weight, and you benefit more from weight loss.”

Gut microbiome in early life

One of the most interesting areas in the recent surge of research on gut flora is its influence on weight and health from an early age. Like babies themselves, the infant’s intestinal microbiomes are immature and grow over time into communities similar to those of adults.

Although it is not solely determined by what you are born with, early development seems to be very important for proper child growth,” said Nielsen.

“This is determined by how the infants are fed (breast feeding seem to give a better development of the gut microbiota). The gut microbiota can change later in life, e.g. long term diet.”

This seemed to be the case in a study that showed babies had a different composition of gut bacteria at six weeks old when they were fed only breast milk compared to those fed breast milk and formula and those fed only formula.

A study by scientists in Sweden even found a link between the development of a child's gut microbiome and the way he or she is delivered. By analysing faecal samples of 98 Swedish infants during their first year of life, those born via C-section had gut bacteria significantly different to their mothers compared to those delivered vaginally.

The relationship between gut microbiota and the host is key to future health and well-being of the host. This bond is formed almost from birth directing the infant’s intestinal and immune development. How strong the bond becomes appears to be a mixture of diet and other environmental factors.

Scientists are in agreement about one thing: from birth until old age, our gut bacteria are constantly evolving. As life expectancy continues to increase, making informed decisions on what to eat, and activities to participate in has become essential in preserving the delicate balance between the gut microbiota and the host.

 

Probiota 2016 in Amsterdam, February 2-4

From zombie probiotics to the future of microbiome science; an EFSA exclusive to global hotspot market wraps; infants and the aged; case studies; latest research and formulations plus more Probiota 2016 is a knowledge store you probably shouldn’t miss.

Click here for more information. 

Related News

© iStock.com

Probiota day 1: Tweet by tweet

© iStock.com / urfinguss

Probiota day 2: Tweet by tweet

© iStock.com

Probiota day 3: Tweet by tweet

"Talking about these things there are always questions that start to come into your head as a woman like: ‘Is this normal?’" © iStock.com

Overcoming the taboo of vaginal health – the next frontier of probiotics

"The first objective will be to develop a network of health professionals throughout Switzerland..." © iStock.com

French supplement player buys Swiss probiotics firm

Six ideas about prebiotics

Digesting science: Six ideas about prebiotics

'This year we had a great programme and 2017 looks even more engaging'

Probiota 2017 migrates to Berlin; call for scientific abstracts until 11 November

So you think you've been following the latest microbiome metrics and advances closely? Take our quiz to prove it. © iStock.com / AntonioGuillem

Do YOU have the guts to take our microbiome quiz?

Microbiome changes linked to onset of type 1 diabetes

Microbiome changes linked to onset of type 1 diabetes

Unlocking the mysteries of the microbiome, with better software and statistics

Unlocking the mysteries of the microbiome, with better software and statistics

'It’s humbling for science to find out we have crossed paths with mother nature in this way.' Image: iStock

Restoring the damaged baby microbiome: ‘This is the biggest development in infant nutrition in years’

Infant microbiome engineering: “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sees this call as an opportunity to leverage decades worth of progress in biotechnology..."

Bill Gates Foundation backs microbiome engineering to boost infant health

'Fibre has been shown to have a protective effect, but microbiota and butyrate presence does determine the degree of protection.'

The microbiome & its potential in cancer prevention

The rate at which our gut bacteria mature during infancy may have a big impact on later weight gain, suggest researchers.

Early microbiome development impacts later weight gain

Microbiome changes may be key to better metabolic health in obesity

Microbiome changes may be key to better metabolic health in obesity

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.