How Diet and Lifestyle Impact Your Gut Microbiome
It may come as a surprise, but genetics don’t play as much of a role in gut microbiome makeup as was once thought. According to new research published in Nature, controllable factors such as diet and lifestyle are shown to have the greatest impact on the nature of one’s gut microbiome, as opposed to genetic framework.
We now know that it is actually possible to influence and potentially reshape the composition of bacteria in our bodies.
This is good news for anyone willing to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes. If the gut microbiome can be improved by making better diet and lifestyle choices, then we can reach optimal gut health despite our genetic predisposition.
Due to its powerful effect on the entire body, including the nervous system, the gut has been awarded the nickname, “second brain.” I, however, would go even further, contesting that the gut microbiome could improve the overall state of one’s health.
A research study was conducted on a diverse and healthy Israeli population of 1,046 participants to test the impact of genetics versus diet and lifestyle on the microbiome. The participants were made up of people from a variety of genetic backgrounds. The study concluded that the gut microbiome was not strongly tied to genetic makeup. This study matched the research, concluding that a person’s genes play an insignificant role in determining the composition of one’s gut microbiome.
The study also revealed that people who had different genetic makeups, but lived in the same household had similar gut microbiome compositions. On the other hand, when studying relatives with no history of living together, their gut microbiome compositions showed no similarities.
This fascinating study revealed that diet, drugs, and anthropometric measurements accounted for more than 20% of microbiome composition.
Research has shown that the gut microbiome can actually predict BMI, fasting glucose levels, glycemic status, high-density lipoprotein levels, cholesterol, waist and hip circumference, waist-hip ratio, and lactose consumption as well as, if not better than, genetics.
Lifestyle choices, especially diet, can highly influence the state of your gut microbiome, no matter your genetic background. The more we learn about the correlation between lifestyle, diet, microbiome-related diseases, and microbiome composition, the better we can help people heal and reach optimal gut health.