April 24, 2013
Your Gut’s Microbiome Has A Unique Bacterial Signature
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
In the human body, microbial cells outnumber human cells ten to one. Your body has a set of microbial communities collectively known as a microbiome. Scientists studying the microbiome are learning about the relationship between these microbes and human health and disease.
Dr. Nanette Steinle of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine and Dr. Emmanuel Mongodin of the University of Maryland Institute of Genome Sciences examined the effect of diet on the composition of the gut´s microbiome to determine whether the Mediterranean diet would cause changes in an person's microbiome. The Mediterranean diet was selected for the study because it has already been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eight females and one male between the ages of 50-65 participated in the study. They were provided with foods that fit the Mediterranean diet profile: high fiber, whole grains, dry beans/lentils, olive oil, and five servings of fruits/vegetables a day. After two weeks of this diet, the participants provided blood samples for the analysis of fasting lipids and stool samples to determine the microbes present.
The blood samples indicated a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL levels. There was also a clustering of individuals' microbial profiles.
"What we expected to find was that a particular microbe species increased, but we haven't observed that," said Steinle. "Instead, each individual appears to have a unique microbiome signature, like a fingerprint. A sample from 5 people would result in 5 unique profiles. It's the first time we've observed that this signature remained true, even after manipulation of diet," Steinle added.
The team suggests that this study adds another clue to the highly complex nature of the gut microbiome.
Dr. Steinle will present the findings of the study at the American Society for Nutrition's poster sessions this week.