Tue Dec 11, 2018, 10:00 AM

Gut microbiome differs among ethnicities

Research increasingly links the gut microbiome to a range of human maladies, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and even cancer. Attempts to manipulate the gut with food rich in healthy bacteria, such as yogurt or kombucha, are in vogue, along with buying commercial probiotics that promise to improve users' chances against illness.

Changing the gut microbiome to beat illness really does hold great potential, said Vanderbilt University biologist Seth Bordenstein, but first scientists must answer what constitutes a healthy gut microbiome and in whom. By studying data on nearly 1,700 Americans of varying genders, ages, weights and ethnicities, they learned that gut microbiome differences among ethnicities are the most consistent factor.

That discovery holds promise in the burgeoning field of individualized medicine, because it is far easier to change a person's microbiome than their genes -- the other major markers for disease. In addition, many chronic diseases disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, with underlying causes of that difference unexplained. Perhaps some answers lie in the gut microbiome.

"Human genomes are 99.9 percent the same between any two people, so what we're really interested in is what explains the marked variations in gut microbiomes between people," said Bordenstein, associate professor of biological sciences. "What are the rules, and can we manipulate that microbiome in order to improve health and medicine in the long run? If you look at common factors associated with gut microbiome differences, such as gender, weight or age, you find many inconsistencies in the types of gut bacteria present. But when we compare differences by patients' self-declared ethnicities, we find stable and consistent features of bacteria present in the gut."

The work was done in collaboration with a team at the University of Minnesota, and the results, outlined in a paper titled "Gut Microbiota Diversity across Ethnicities in the United States," appears today in the journal PLOS Biology.

3 replies, 158 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Gut microbiome differs among ethnicities (Original post)
Troll2 Dec 2018 OP
MumblyPeg Dec 2018 #1
Troll2 Dec 2018 #2
MumblyPeg Dec 2018 #3

Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2018, 10:49 AM

1. it would be interesting to know...

Did this span multiple countries or even regions...
I wonder how much of this would be related to diet. Certain foods tend to be separated on cultural or regional lines and I'm curious how much if any of a role that would play.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Troll2 (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 11, 2018, 11:06 AM

3. yea, I was and still am far too lazy to read the whole thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink