Advancement in Microbiome based Personalized Diet and Nutrition for Healthy Life
The term ‘Microbiome’ may seem Greek to most of us but it has made its mark in the field of healthcare due to its pivotal role in holistic development of a healthy body. ‘Personalized Diet’, on the other hand, is slightly common and most of us are aware of it. It involves the process of adapting food to individual needs as every individual responds differently to diet, depending on their genetic makeup, lifestyle, environment etc.
When clubbed together - Microbiome based Personalized Diet, it can yield benefits like metabolism improvement to effective management of various diseases and a lot more. This term has been making its way into the domain of preventive healthcare and helps everyone hold true to the adage, ‘Prevention is better than cure’.
So, how about decoding what it is and how it can lead to a healthier lifestyle?
What is a microbiome?
The genetic material of all the microbes - fungi, bacteria, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body are referred to as the microbiome and they majorly live in our gut. Surprisingly, the microbiome may weigh as much as five pounds.
If you are thinking, why the microbiome is of such importance, read on.
- The bacteria present in the microbiome aids digestion, human development and regulates the immune system.
- The microbiome acts as a protective shield against disease causing bacteria and produces vitamins including B vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K, vital for blood coagulation.
- The gut microbiota has a regulatory role on anxiety, mood, cognition and pain which is exerted via the gut–brain axis includes involvement of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, immune system regulators, hormones, bacterial metabolites such as SCFAs, and neurotransmitters.
What is a microbiome based personalized diet?
Before diving deep, a question arises, ‘Can nutrition be personalized based on an individual’s gut microbiota composition and structure, so we can take a more detailed and controlled approach to looking after our health?’
The answer is - Absolutely!
It is because diets aren’t one-size-fits-all as different people respond to exactly the same food in different ways. It all boils down to the unique microbiome present in our guts.
A microbiome based personalized diet is a combination of foods that encourage the right mix in your unique microbiome. It is based on the fact that the good bacteria present in your gut environment decide the list of foods that work best for your body. It is all about listening to your gut microbiome and altering what and how we eat.
In the gut microbiome, the ‘good’ bacteria perform more crucial tasks than just digestion. They keep a check on your ‘bad’ bacteria and multiply so often that the unhealthy kind don't find space to grow. When you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, it’s called equilibrium.
Wondering how to achieve the equilibrium?
The answer remains the same - by following a diet revolving around your distinctive gut microbiota.
What is the importance of microbiome based personalized nutrition?
Following a microbiome based personalized nutrition can yield various short-term and long-term benefits including:
- The food intake according to the gut microbiome yields direct benefits to the body in terms of immunity and improvement of nutrition.
- The tailored nutrition based on your gut bacteria is superior to standard food consumption. It is known to increase energy and protein levels, and further improve functional status and quality of life.
- The diet also enables the body to selectively combat lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis etc.
- The gut microbiome's influence on human metabolism makes it a possible factor in determining longevity, therefore a diet based on it leads to a long quality life.
With all these benefits listed above, are you still giving second thoughts on adopting a microbiome based personalized diet? We think you shouldn’t.
Advancements in Microbiome Based personalized Diet
With extensive advancement in fields of technology and medical science, a major fact has come into being i.e microbiomes can reshape what we eat.
A research named Personalized Nutrition Project was conducted by the Weizmann Institute of Science and it focused on how individuals respond differently to food, based on the different microbiomes they host.
The findings claimed that there is no item of food whose effects are predictably universal for everyone, and that nutrition recommendations should be personalized. This was one of the cornerstones of the Microbiome Based personalized Diet.
Some of the latest advances in understanding diet–microbiota interactions, the individuality of gut microbiota composition and how this knowledge could be harnessed for personalized nutrition strategies to improve human health are as follows:
1. Progression of microbial consortia in a developing infant gut microbiome
The colonization process of the infant gut microbiome is called chaotic. As a result of 2.5 years of the assembly of the human infant gut microbiome, it was found that rRNA genes indicated that the phylogenetic diversity of the microbiome increased with passing time. The diversity in community composition conformed to a smooth temporal gradient.
In contrast to it, major taxonomic groups showed abrupt shifts in abundance corresponding to changes in diet or health. It also revealed that seemingly chaotic shifts in the microbiome are associated with life events.
2. Diet consistently alters the human gut microbiome
A long-span diet influences the activity and structure of the trillions of microorganisms living in the human gut. However, it is still unclear on how rapidly and reproducibly the human gut microbiome responds to short-term macronutrient change.
The animal-based diet increases the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms (Alistipes and Bacteroides). On the contrary, it decreases the levels of Firmicutes that metabolize dietary plant polysaccharides (Eubacterium rectale and Ruminococcus bromii). In a nutshell, several results together demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.
3. Personalized nutrition by prediction of glycemic responses
A week-long monitoring of glucose levels in 800 people resulted in high variability in the response to identical meals, suggesting that universal dietary recommendations may have limited utility.
A random controlled dietary intervention based on this algorithm resulted in lower postprandial responses and continuous alterations to gut microbiota configuration. Together, the results suggest that personalized diets may successfully alter elevated postprandial blood glucose and its metabolic results.
4. Another major advancement in the field of microbiome based personalized diet has been brought by MyMicrobiome test which uses long-read NGS technology to deliver insights into the gut environment. Personalized and easy-to-understand reports are then prepared to provide unique diet recommendations suitable to an individual. The gut restoration and gut maintenance charts followed by a diet & nutrition counselling from experts help the patients combat various lifestyle diseases.
The above mentioned advancements are just the tip of the iceberg as the field of microbiome is ever evolving. Since the human body is subject to various changes depending upon internal and external factors, one can always expect new developments around it. However, the crux of all of them remains the same - Your body is what you eat and that is why it becomes even more important to follow a microbiome based personalized diet.
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