What you eat influences which genes your gut microbes switch on and off

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

New research provides further evidence of the important role that gut microbes play in health – by revealing they alter host gene expression in a diet-dependent manner. Using mice, [researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison] show a Western diet prevents many of the gene expression changes of a plant-rich diet.

For their study, the researchers used mice raised on two different diets: one rich in plant carbohydrates (mimicking a human diet rich in fruits and vegetables) and the other high in simple sugars and fats (mimicking a Western diet).

The researchers found that…metabolites produced when gut bacteria ferment nutrients from plants…were communicating with the cells of the host animals through the epigenome.

[John M. Denu, a UW-Madison professor of biomolecular chemistry and a senior researcher at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery,] and his colleagues…note that while foods rich in fat and sugar – hallmarks of the Western diet – are more easily digested, they are not necessarily a good source of nutrients for gut microbes. This results in a less diverse microbiome, and less communication with the epigenome, they suggest.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original postGut microbes switch host genes on and off under influence of diet

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