Microbiome Bites March 20th: Oatmeal is Definitely Good for You and Dysbiosis Might Be Too

Protective dysbiosis

1. Oatmeal is Still Good for You

Oatmeal has long been touted as the healthy breakfast. In a new study published in the journal Microbiome scientists in Cork have found that beta-glucan (the soluble fiber in oatmeal) lowers cholesterol in mice and keeps bodyweight down. The beta-glucan also promoted the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

The scientists made an interesting additional discovery. The plant stanol esters (which lower bad cholesterol) found in oatmeal were the best for lowering cholesterol but the worst for weight gain.

The scientists that conducted the study suggest that these results mean that we need to consider the effects on the microbiome when treating heart disease with either food or medication.

You can read the study here.

 

2. Changes in the Gut Microbiome After an Unhealthy Diet May Protect form Metabolic Disease

Here’s an interesting wrinkle.

An unhealthy diet causes changes in the microbiome, called dysbiosis, which triggers disease. A new study from France now challenges this view.

Using mice as a model, the researchers show that dysbiosis may have beneficial effects on liver metabolism and may protect against metabolic disease.

The study took a different approach to most studies and used healthy mice that had not been treated with antibiotics. They found that dysbiosis led to metabolic adaptations that may protect the body against disease.

High fat diets increase the production of glucose by the liver, which can eventually lead to metabolic disease (high blood pressure, diabetes etc.). However, when the French team transplanted the dysbiotic microbiome from mice on a high-fat diet into healthy mice, they found that the production of glucose in the liver of the healthy mice actually went down. So in the short term at least, the dysbiotic microbiota caused a protective effect.

The researchers conclude that as long as the gut barrier remains intact (no leaky gut), dysbiosis after a high-fat diet may not be detrimental.

You can read the study here.