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How gut microbes can prevent obesity and diabetes

It is official. A healthy gut is not just a healthier you, but a disease-free you, says a new study

Your gut doesn't just regulate metabolism; it helps prevent disease (iStockphoto)

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The gut has been in the news for a while, with more and more people recognising its importance to metabolism and well-being. A new study, however, claims that gut health could also impact the chances of getting a lifestyle disease. ANI reported that according to this new study, published on July 5, 2022, in Cell Reports, each person's gut is home to 500 to 1,000 different bacterial species, which might total 100,000 trillion germs. 

"Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine used mouse models to examine how diet and feeding habits affect these intestinal microbes and the health of the hosts, particularly with obesity and type 2 diabetes," reported ANI, going into the details of the study.

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In both mice and men, the ileum is the final stretch of the small intestine, connecting to the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. In the ileum, nutrients are drawn out of liquefied food; in the cecum, which also marks the beginning of the colon, the process of extracting water begins, said ANI. The wire agency also pointed out that both processes are complex, dynamic and profoundly influenced by factors ranging from the types of foods consumed and when, to the microbial residents of the gut, whose presence and behaviours help dictate digestion, absorption of nutrients, vitamin synthesis and development of the immune system."It's important to realise that the gut microbiome is constantly changing, not only based on what we're eating but also based on the time of day," said senior study author Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a gastroenterologist at UC San Diego Health to ANI.

According to him, researchers learned that the cyclical changes in the gut microbiome are quite important for health since they help with the circadian clock and the regulation and control of glucose, cholesterol and fatty acids -- and overall metabolic health.ANI also reported that Zarrinpar and colleagues looked at how diet-induced obesity (DIO) and time-restricted feeding (TRF) alter ileal microbiome composition and transcriptome (the protein-coding part of an organism's genome) in mouse models.

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They discovered that when mouse models ate what they wanted and whenever they did, they became fat and unhealthy."It is interesting that restricting food access with TRF acts not only through the restoration of patterns affected under the unhealthy state, but also through new pathways," said first author Ana Carolina Dantas Machado, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Zarrinpar's lab to ANI. 

Researchers also told ANI that the findings underscored the influence of diet and time-restricted feeding patterns in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. This, in turn, modulated the circadian rhythms that govern metabolic health. "It's a very complicated relationship between the microbiome and the host, with the former helping determine the latter's gastrointestinal functioning and health," explained Zarrinpar to ANI. 

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