Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Inflammation and Gut Flora

New Scientist had an interesting piece called 'Milk fats clue to inflammatory bowel disease'.  Various gut flora can thrive on particular diets - and in terms of our own health, not all gut flora is created equal,
  • Concentrated milk fats, a common ingredient of processed foods and confectionary, trigger blooms of otherwise rare gut bacteria in mice that may contribute to inflammatory gut diseases.

This comes hot on the heels of the Human Microbiome Project which seeks to map out the trillions of bactiera which inhabit the human body,
  • "Knowing which microbes live in various ecological niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes awry in diseases thought to have a microbial link, like Crohn's disease and obesity," says George Weinstock, associate director of the Genome Institute at Washington University in St Louis and one of the Human Microbiome Project's principal investigators.

    They found that microbial cells outnumber native human cells by 10 to one, and collectively have 8 million genes compared to just 22,000 in humans. Of the 10,000 species identified, the most diverse range lived on the skin. Bacteria that colonise the teeth are different from those in saliva, and the vagina hosts the simplest range of bugs.

 Looks like you are what you eat, you are what your body does with what you eat, you are what your bacteria is and you are what bacteria does with what you eat. 
Trying to figure out first cause with the obese never looked so complicated.


J. Stanton - said...

It's possible to generalize this case to "anything we eat to such an excess that our small intestine can't absorb it will feed our gut flora, usually to our detriment." This is known to happen with anything from fructose to grain proteins to dairy fat.


Asclepius said...

Hi J, thanks for stopping by!.

So you think that blooming of detrimental gut flora could happen even with the excessive consumption of 'whole foods' rather than certain detrimental bacteria thriving on specific whole foods?

Or to look at it another way - 'excessive growth in gut flora is bad'?