5 key things we should know about the gut microbiome

gut

Here are five of the most important questions that lie ahead for microbiome science.

1) What makes a gut microbiome ‘healthy’? The words “healthy microbiome” should raise a red flag. Because, currently, if scientists examine the gut microbial community of a single individual they have no way of knowing whether or not it qualifies as healthy—nor even what parameter to look at in order to find out.

2) Diet can manipulate gut microbes. How does this affect health? “Many kinds of bacteria in our gut, they’re changeable by changing our diet,” says Liping Zhao of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, citing two large population studies from 2016.

3) How can gut microorganisms be used to fine-tune the immune system? Many chronic diseases—autoimmune conditions but also, according to the latest research, obesity and cardiovascular disease—are immune mediated.

Related article:  Do we really need sex to make babies? Maybe not

4) How can a person’s gut microbiome be reconfigured in a lasting way? Measures of the adult microbiome over time show it has a high degree of stability—in fact, it can be downright stubborn.

5) How do early-life shapers of the gut microbiome affect health status later on? Researchers have found two main factors that appear to shape the gut microbiome in early life, at least temporarily: mode of birth (whether vaginal or Cesarean section), and early life diet (whether formula or breast milk).

Read full, original post: The Top Five Mysteries of the Human Gut Microbiome

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