Contain too much fat and sugar in childhood diet can alter your microbiome for life, even if you later learn to eat healthier, a new study in mice suggests.
The study by UC Riverside researchers is one of the first to show a significant decrease in the total number and diversity of gut bacteria in mature mice fed an unhealthy diet as juveniles.
“We studied mice, but the effect we observed is equivalent to kids and childhood having a Western diet, high in fat and sugar and their gut microbiome still being affected up to six years after puberty,” explained UCR evolutionary physiologist Theodore Garland.
A paper describing the study has recently been published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.
The microbiome refers to all the bacteria as well as fungi, parasites, and viruses that live on and inside a human or animal. Most of these microorganisms are found in the intestines, and most of them are helpful, stimulating the immune system, breaking down food and helping synthesize key vitamins.
In a healthy body, there is a balance of pathogenic and beneficial organisms. However, if the balance is disturbed, either through the use of antibiotics, illness, or unhealthy diet, the body could become susceptible to disease.
Analysis also showed that the gut bacteria are sensitive to the amount of exercise the mice got. Muribaculum bacteria increased in mice fed a standard diet who had access to a running wheel and decreased in mice on a high-fat diet whether they had exercise or not.
Release date: 03 February 2021
Source: University of California – Riverside