For the first time, scientists have found strong links between what someone eats, the microbes in their gut microbiome, and a person's health.

The PREDICT 1 study by Asnicar F. et al., (2021) included researchers from King's College London, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the University of Trento and health start-up company ZOE.

The PREDICT 1 study used metagenomics and blood chemical profiling and the results were published in Nature Medicine.

The results:

The scientists found a group of 15 "good" microbes that are linked to better health.

And a group of 15 "bad" microbes that are linked with worse health including inflammation, blood sugar control and weight.

The "good" gut microbes...

The researchers found people who ate diets rich in healthy plant-based minimally processed foods such as vegetables, nuts, eggs and fish were more likely to have higher levels of beneficial gut microbes.

These "good" microbes were associated with a REDUCED risk of someone developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Among the “good” gut microbes were Prevotella copri and Blastocystis. According to the press relese, both of these types of microbes were "associated with maintaining a favorable blood sugar level after a meal. Other species were linked to lower post-meal levels of blood fats and markers of inflammation. associated with maintaining a favorable blood sugar level after a meal."

The "bad" gut microbes...

Conversely, people that ate more highly processed foods with added sugars, salt and other additives (and less fibre) were more likely to have more 'bad' gut microbes.

These types of microbes are associated with an INCREASED risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What is amazing is that some of these microbes discovered in this study have not yet been named!

From the press release, Nicola Segata, PhD, professor and principal investigator of the Computational Metagenomics Lab at the University of Trento, Italy and leader of the microbiome analysis in the study says:

"We were surprised to see such large, clear groups of what we informally call 'good' and 'bad' microbes emerging from our analysis. It is also exciting to see that microbiologists know so little about many of these microbes that they are not even named yet."


Article & Science reference

Easy-to-read press release:

Easy-to-read New York Times article:

Science reference:

Asnicar, F., Berry, S.E., Valdes, A.M. et al. Microbiome connections with host metabolism and habitual diet from 1,098 deeply phenotyped individuals. Nat Med (2021).


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