According to a research published in the Nature journal on Wednesday, because of the generations that had diets low in fiber, the microorganisms in the human gut could be close to extinction. The researchers said that once the gut bacterium reaches a certain low level, the gut population cannot be saved anymore. The biggest issue is that even if we start introducing more fiber into our diets, the gut might not be able to be restored.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Universities of Princeton, Harvard and Stanford. They used mice that were introduced microbes taken from humans. After that, an entire generation of mice was fed with food that was low in carbohydrates. The food they were given was common for the people who hunted or lived at farms, but not for the people who lived in the city. The guts of the mice started to decrease the bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Four successive mice generations were then fed with food that was high in carbohydrates. Even after the researchers put the first generation of mice on a high fiber diet, the results on the guts of their successive generations were still visible. When the younger generations were given high in carbohydrates food again, the microbiotic diversity of their guts wasn’t like the one the first generation of mice had. Some bacteria that belonged to the family Bacteroidales couldn’t be reintroduced, even with the help of a high fiber diet.
Because the population of the human gut is so diverse and big, scientists don’t know which is the role of each bacteria and what will happen when a lot of them will start disappearing. Even though each role is not known, some species are vital to the immune system, to the digestive system and to metabolism.
The authors of the study said that their study show that further deterioration will be brought to the microbiota. They suggest that if most of the diets will be low in fibers, the results in a few generations could be devastating. Erica D. Sonnenburg and Justin L. Sonnenburg also said that the microbiota can change faster than its host. Because of the modern lifestyles and diets, the microbiomes change faster and the bacteria communities don’t have the time they need in order to adjust to all the changes. As the human genome is always trying to keep up with the microbial community, the health of the humans could be endangered if the numerous changes of the kind will occur. The microorganisms in the human gut could be close to extinction, and if they will disappear, the diseases will be much harder to be cured.
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