Unlocking the metabolic secrets of the microbiome
The number of bacterial cells living in and on our bodies outnumbers our own cells ten to one. But the identity of all those bugs and just what exactly our relationship to all of them really is remains rather fuzzy. Now, researchers reporting in the May issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have new evidence showing the metabolic impact of all those microbes in mice, and on their colons in particular.
“Dietary factors known as prebiotics promote the growth of certain bacteria at the expense of others and have implications for human health and disease,” they wrote. “As our diets have shifted away from fiber and other complex carbohydrates toward processed, simple carbohydrates, the incidences of colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have increased. It is possible that increasing butyrate levels in the lumen and in colonocytes could help reverse this trend. In fact, butyrate enema therapy has been shown to ameliorate the inflammation associated with colitis in mouse models and in human clinical trials.” Read more here
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