Tuesday, July 23, 2024

There’s a whole world living in your gut

January 16, 2011 by Ange  

Clipped science iconThe MetaHIT project is undertaking the biggest census of the bugs living inside our guts. The European study has taken samples from 124 subjects; a mixture of healthy, overweight and people suffering with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and identified the genes of the intestinal microbials (mainly bacteria) by DNA stretches.

The results are pretty impressive. They’ve found 3.3 million different genes from the samples taken, that’s 150 times more genes than in the human genome. About 40% of those are shared with at least 50% of the group, so we all have a core of the same bacteria in out guts. Each individual in the study has at least 160 different bacterial species.

One of the objectives of the study is to look at the function of these bacteria and work out which are contributing to our health and which seem to be more present in those with bowel disease or with obesity. That part of the study is on-going, but what they have revealed a functional core within the microbial genes, functions which are required for the whole ecosystem the ‘minimal human gut metagenome’. This set of functions is 3 times larger than had been previously thought. So this human host-bacterial interaction is clearly instrumental to our health yet we still have so much more to learn about it.

If you want to learn more about digestive health contact nutrition and digestion expert Angela Walker through the book appointment tab above.

Fabulous Nutrition is a London based Nutritional Therapy Clinic, addressing functional imbalance in the body with bespoke nutrition programmes. Whether you have a diagnosed condition, want to improve digestion problems, lose weight, slow the effects of aging or kick-start a new health regime, Angela Walker at Fabulous Nutrition can help. www.fabulousnutrition.co.uk.

Source :Qin et al A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature. 464, 59-65

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