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The Gut Microbiota Can Influence the Effectiveness of Dietary Treatments

(University of Gothenburg) Dietary interventions can be used to improve the metabolism of humans, and they also have a major impact on the gut microbiota. Previous studies at the Sahlgrenska Academy have shown that the gut microbiota is altered in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and that the gut microbiota contributes to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In a new study, 39 subjects ate barley kernel bread for three days followed by control bread made from white flour for three days (with a break between the two diets). The results showed that barley kernel bread improved the control of blood sugar, but only in some individuals.
Prevotella, a group of bacteria previously shown to be associated with high fiber intake, was present in higher proportions in those who responded beneficially to barley kernel bread than in those who did not respond to this dietary intervention.
By transferring the gut microbiota of these individuals to germ-free mice, the research group could demonstrate that the altered gut microbiota contributed to the beneficial effects of the barley kernel bread.
"Our findings clearly show the importance of the interaction between the gut microbiota and the diet and contribute to our understanding of metabolism in health and disease. The results may help to explain why responses to different dietary treatments are so individual," says Professor Fredrik Bäckhed at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
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