MyNewGut, a new European project to study in-depth the role of gut microbiota

No one questions today the importance of the bacterial communities living in our digestive tract, our gut flora or gut microbiota, for our overall health and wellbeing. However, there is still a lack of more in-depth knowledge that could lead to the development of dietary or lifestyle interventions that could help prevent, for example, diet-related or behavioral disorders.

A new multidisciplinary project called MyNewGut, funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, has been recently launched. It is a five-year research initiative to enable basic scientific findings in the field of the gut microbiota. The project is led by Dr Yolanda Sanz of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and brings together 30 partners from 15 countries, including experts from microbiology to computational modelling. Read more

Exercise and associated dietary habits may boost gut microbiota diversity

Exercise is known to be essential for both our mental and our physical health. It is good for the heart, for keeping weight down and may help prevent some kinds of cancer; moreover, it can help keep our spirits up, as well as boosting our creativity and learning.

According to a new study recently published in Gut, however, the benefits of exercise may not end there. Researchers suggest that frequent exercise may also play an important role in our whole-body health by – directly or indirectly – contributing to the diversity of our gut microbiota.

In recent years there has been a boom in studies that try to shed some light on the importance of a healthy, diverse and balanced community of bacteria in our gut, our gut flora or gut microbiota, as they contribute to our metabolism and the appropriate development of the immune system. As we have already explained in this blog, people with balanced, diverse microbiota may be less prone to obesity, immunity problems, inflammatory diseases such as IBS, or even diabetes, than people with low microbial diversity. Read more

Antibiotics in pregnancy may affect the baby’s immune system, mice study shows

According to the results of a recent study with rodents by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), antibiotics treatments during pregnancy may put newborns at risk of disease by challenging their immune system.

When they’re born, infants move from a largely sterile environment, their mothers’ womb, to one full of microorganisms, the outer world. Both animal and humans learn to adapt to this situation by being exposed to their mother’s microbes from the very moment of birth, as delivery kick-starts the immune system of the newborns. The results of the study, published in Nature Medicine, suggest that the mother’s gut microbiota may play an essential role in this transference as it foster the production of some white blood cells in charge of fighting infections, granulocytes, during the first days of life. Read more