New Frontiers in the Gut Microbiome

2020 was a banner year for research and scientific advancements in gut microbiome. An e-book published by Gnosis by Lesaffre highlights some of the year’s biggest breakthroughs. 

Did you know that your body is home to an estimated 100 trillion microbes? With the vast majority living in the large intestines, collectively they are often referred to as the gut microbiota.

This gut microbiota plays a crucial role in our overall health. Everything from digestive ailments to obesity, diabetes, allergies, cancer, and even neurodegenerative diseases have been linked to an imbalance of gut microbiota. 

Furthermore, our gut microbiota also supports the body’s immune response. In fact, given all these important functions, many scientists now consider the gut microbiota to be an ‘organ’ in and of itself.      


A banner year for research 

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Scientists are constantly making new discoveries and learning more about the gut microbiome, including how it evolves, how it is affected by diet and exercise, and how it interacts with disease. 

According to a new e-book entitled Nutrition, Immunity and Gut Microbiota published by Gnosis by Lesaffre, 2020 was a banner year for new discoveries in environment-host-microbiome interactions and how such interactions shape both health and disease. 

As Gnosis by Lesaffre explains: “the research done during 2020 has significantly advanced our understanding of how the gut microbiome and our diet contribute to human health beyond the gastrointestinal milieu.” 


Shaping the human immune system 

The e-book, which can be downloaded here, highlights some of the most important scientific breakthroughs in the field. These include new insights on how gut microbiota directly shapes the human immune system

For example, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York found that the presence of three types of gut bacteria are associated with increased blood concentrations of immune cells called neutrophils. Based on computer simulations, the researchers believe that enriching microbiota with these three ‘friendly’ bacteria could speed up the recovery of a patient’s immune system. 

Likewise, research by the International Probiotics Association concludes that the microbiome also has an impact on viral disease outcomes. As such, the Association predicts that manipulating the microbiome with probiotics could allow one to control viral infection risk and recovery. 


Diet, exercise, and the gut microbiome 

2020 also saw considerable advances in our understanding of how diet and exercise affect the gut microbiome. For instance, according to one study published in Science, microbiome-targeted dietary interventions constitute a powerful and tantalising tool for preventing and treating different diseases. 

“While we are still quite far from microbiome-targeted precision medicine, we are surely on the right scientific path to developing an exhaustive set of tools and clinical knowledge to close all the current gaps,” says Dr Jennifer A. Wargo, M.D., Department of Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, who authored the study.    

Furthermore, a new review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition identifies positive correlations between gut species and exercise, with exercise appearing to enrich microbiota diversity and improve its barrier function.


More exciting research ahead   

In addition to these scientific advancements, the e-book also highlights how probiotic bacteria can boost everyday health, the impact that fermented foods have on gut microbiota, and the role zinc plays in antiviral immunity. 

“2020 introduced a new frontier in gut microbiome and laid the groundwork for more exciting research to come,” concludes the e-book.

Nutrition, Immunity and Gut Microbiota can be downloaded here. For more information, please visit The Trends & Science Mag of Wellness & Immune Health or contact us.