In a new study entitled “Quantifying Diet-Induced Metabolic Changes of the Human Gut Microbiome”, researchers developed a mathematical model that predicts, according to our gut microbiome, how you will react to a weight-loss diet, and hence decrease the risk for gut-associated conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The human gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as a key factor determining our susceptibility to certain diseases. Harboring more than 1,000 different types of bacteria and other microorganisms, which microbe-microbe, diet-microbe and microbe-host interactions occur in the human digestive system and how they modulate disease susceptibility is currently poorly understood.
Here, scientists at Chalmers University of Technology developed a mathematical model that predicts patients’ responses to a particular diet, based on their gut microbiome composition. Scientists validated their model (that focuses on metabolic interactions between the diet, gut microbiota, and host metabolism) in clinical trials. First, the team characterized the microbiome community of obese individuals, who were then submitted to a weight loss diet. While all individuals lost weight, the team observed that those with a low-diverse gut microbiome had lower levels of key markers of health risks (identified in individuals’ blood and feces samples), while the contrary was detected in the samples from individuals with higher microbiome “biological diversity.”
Hence, the authors’ mathematical modeling of the human gut microbiome was able to predict the patients’ responses to a dietary intervention, as evidenced by the alterations in patients’ fecal and blood samples. Specifically, the team realized that the differences in patients responses was related to alterations in their amino acids contents, as Dr. Jens Nielsen, professor of systems biology at Chalmers and study lead author explained in a news release, “Amongst other things, we have been able to demonstrate that the intestines of the individuals with low-diversity gut microbiome produce fewer amino acids when they follow this diet. This is one explanation for the improved blood chemistry.”
Importantly, the risk for cardiovascular diseases, as well as with type 2 diabetes and obesity was linked to the individuals’ composition of the gut microbiome. Now, the team expects that their mathematical model will help clinicians to identify, among obese individuals, those at higher risks for developing these microbiome-associated diseases and to tailor a weigh-loss diet according to their gut microbiome.
Professor Karine Clement, a study collaborator at Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition where the clinical trial was performed, commented “In the long-term we might be able to add intestinal bacteria for patients whose metabolism does not function properly.”
Professor Jens Nielsen added, “The next generation of probiotics [live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health] will pertain more to adding bacteria that integrate directly with the existing gut microbiome and make a lasting change to the composition.”