UMCG researchers determine composition of healthy gut microbiota

Groningen – People often talk about healthy intestinal flora, but so far it’s not really clear what exactly that means. Thanks to extensive research, UMCG researchers have now been able to determine the composition of a healthy microbiome. They were able to determine this after doing a comprehensive analysis of the microbiome composition of more than 8,200 life line participants.

They were able to determine this after doing a comprehensive analysis of the microbiome composition of more than 8,200 life line participants. This enabled them not only to compile an index of the microbiome, but also to indicate which bacteria in the microbiome are implicated in disease and that have a role in health; This is of great value to pursue medical research and applications. Their study also found that not only a person’s current living conditions, but also past conditions, such as the childhood living environment, influence the composition of the microbiome. And that living together in a home ensures that the microbiomes of the people involved have pretty much the same composition. The results were published today in the leading scientific journal temper nature

The term gut flora has now been replaced by a microbiome that better suits the collected gut microbiota and its environment. It has been known for some time that the microbiome is involved in the development of various diseases. The microbiome is the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms that every human has. Changes in the composition and function of the microbiome have been associated with a wide range of human health disorders, ranging from gastrointestinal, hepatic, and metabolic diseases to mental disorders. The influence of gut bacteria leads to the development of therapies that target the microbiome. However, it was not yet known what exactly is meant by a healthy microbiome. A microbiome with such a composition already contributes to human health. In order to prove this, several UMCG researchers started the Dutch Microbiome Project in 2015, which followed the success of microbiome research at Lifelines-DEEP and in patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

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Comprehensive analysis of microbiome composition

In this study, researchers created and analyzed one of the largest multigenerational groups to date. The researchers examined the exact structure and function of their microbiomes in more than 8,200 life-line participants by fully analyzing the DNA of all microorganisms present. 2,756 families participated in this. The lifeline includes participants who are healthy as well as participants suffering from a variety of diseases. Because all of these participants collected and frozen their faeces, and the faeces were collected from their homes to be stored at -80 degrees, the researchers were able to analyze the composition very precisely. They analyzed at least 241 clinical factors for each participant that affect microbiome composition. These include various factors such as physical and mental health, use of medications, diet, socioeconomic factors, and the children’s and current family’s living conditions.

The microbiome related to disease and health

Their research shows that many diseases are affected by the composition of the microbiome. There are specific groups of bacteria in the microbiome that are associated with many different diseases, regardless of the exact clinical picture. It also turns out that the opposite is true. There are also bacteria in the microbiome associated with better health. This enabled the UMCG staff to determine the nature and pattern of a healthy microbiome.

Determinants of a healthier microbiome

The researchers also looked at factors that influence the composition of the microbiome. It is important to have a good picture of it, because it is through these factors that the microbiome can change and improve. In addition to known factors such as diet, medication use, and disease, other factors appear to have an effect as well. For example, the microbiome appears to be healthier if someone lives in a greener and less polluted environment, and there are fewer particles in the air. They also demonstrated that the living conditions of the subject’s parents also influence. For example, if a person has parents who smoke or grew up in a rural environment, this also affects their microbiome.

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The common determinant of family

Heredity does not appear to be the largest determinant of microbiome composition. Research has shown that the impact of a person’s lifestyle and environment is greater. If people are from the same household, the composition of their microbiome is more similar. Once they stop living together, the overlap between their microbes gets smaller and smaller over time.

healthy microbiome

There is a lot of talk about the components of a healthy microbiome. The result of this research is that it has been determined exactly what this means. The results of this very comprehensive study provide a true index of the microbiome and the factors that influence its formation. So it will be easier to develop therapies that target the microbiome in the future plus this catalog is invaluable for further research into the microbiome.

Source: UMCG

Megan Vasquez

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