Microbiome Bites September 5th

Diabetes Metformin Microbiome ThinkBiome

1. The Western diet may be starving our microbiome
The “healthy” gut microbiome in the Western world may not actually be healthy at all. In a review article published in the journal Cell Metabolism authors argue that our ancient microbiomes and those observed in traditional societies are healthy and that microbiomes observed in the West are not. Our microbiomes can change rapidly in response to changes in environment (diet), but our genome takes much longer to adapt; hence the rise of metabolic diseases we are observing. Read it here.
2. Early life antibiotic use and subsequent diagnosis of allergies
The use of antibiotics in infancy has been linked to disruptions in the microbiome later in life. These changes can negatively affect the development of the immune system. In an article published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, researchers find associations between early life antibiotic use and later life allergy development. The team suggests that these findings could affect pediatric treatment decisions. Read more here.
3. Your microbiome has it’s own microbiome, and it helps keep you healthy.
In a study published in the journal PNAS researchers surveyed the bacteriophages found in the gut microbiome of healthy people. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect the bacteria in your gut. The team found a core group of bacteriophage present in healthy individuals, and that this core group was found much less frequently in the microbiomes of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Thus, this core set of bacteriophage plays an important role in maintaining gut microbiome structure/function and thereby contributes significantly to human health. Read it here.
4. Gut microbes mediate the effects of the diabetes drug Metformin
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global problem, caused by a complex mixture of genetic and environmental factors, such as diet and sedentary lifestyle. It is apparent that the gut microbiome is a key player in the development of the disease.
Metformin is a widely used treatment for T2D, however one-third of patients taking the drug report adverse side effects such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Now, in a study published in the journal Nature, researchers show that the gut microbiome mediates the therapeutic effects of metformin through the production of short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Read more here.