What Did I Eat? Or How Did the Critters in Your Food End Up in Your Gut

Background

They always say that you are what you eat. In recent years, there have been an increasing amount of  studies looking at the various microbes that live in and on you, and how your habits impact them. These large number of microbes are what comprises your microbiome. Understanding how they are impacted by lifestyle is becoming a well studied area of microbiology. Previous studies in this field have shown that certain types of these microbiota can have positive or negative effects on the overall function of an  organism (Human Microbiome Project Phase II). Certain types of microbes have shown to be associated with various diseases of the gut. Many of these microbes have the ability to cause major health concerns among the human population, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, obesity, and autoimmune disease (Pittayanon et al., 2019 and Marietta et al., 2019). 

Being able to characterize our differences based on diet can begin to help us be able to get our microbiomes to a “healthy” state, (what is relatively healthy for the individual, not necessarily an overlapping term for everyone). This will also help with these diseases so they don’t plague the population in such high amounts as they do now. We can potentially do this through looking at the nutrient content within our chosen diets and how that diet relates to the number of microbiota and subsequently how those microbiota impact the body. That’s exactly what the authors of a recent study did (Losasso et al., 2018). Continue reading “What Did I Eat? Or How Did the Critters in Your Food End Up in Your Gut”

Moms and Microbiomes: Making the Breast(feeding) Decision

Background

Parents want to know the best ways to protect and maintain their child’s health. Most parents have strong opinions about the best way to ensure their child stays healthy. The decision to breastfeed or use formula is just one example of a highly controversial parenting choice in recent years. Another very contested issue is the maternal diet during pregnancy, which has been found to have lasting impacts on the child’s health. Continue reading “Moms and Microbiomes: Making the Breast(feeding) Decision”

What happens to your microbiome when you stop eating gluten?

The Gluten-free Diet

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the villi of the small intestine when it detects gluten. This damage can cause pain, fatigue, and diarrhea. If left untreated it can lead to complications such as infertility or cancer. Only a small number of people- around one percent of the population- actually suffer from Celiac Disease. A gluten-free diet is used as treatment for both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Even though it is unknown whether a gluten-free diet is beneficial to people who do not have Celiac Disease, many people have adopted a gluten-free diet to eat healthier or lose weight. The number of people eating gluten-free is rising, with 17% of Americans actively avoid including gluten in their diet (Riffkin 2015). Continue reading “What happens to your microbiome when you stop eating gluten?”