Health Nitrogen a key driver for gut health

Nitrogen a key driver for gut health

Nitrogen plays a key role in regulating microbes in the gut, presenting the first general principles for how diet affects our gut health – new research has shown.

Scientists from the University of Sydney are one step closer to understanding the link between different diet strategies and gut health after a series of studies into varied diets.

“The largest nutrient requirements for our gut bacteria are carbon and nitrogen in the foods we eat,” explained Associate Professor Andrew Holmes, from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences. ‘

“As carbohydrates contain no nitrogen but protein does, the bacterial community response to the host animal’s diet is strongly affected by this diet’s protein-carbohydrate ratio.”

In the latest study microbe species in mice either increased or decreased in their abundance depending on the animal’s protein and carbohydrate intake.

“The fact that this same pattern was seen across almost all groups of gut bacteria indicates that the makeup of the microbial ecosystem is fundamentally shaped by a need to access nitrogen in the intestinal environment,” Associate Professor Holmes said.

“The next step will be to more rapidly characterise which dietary combinations promote the best outcomes for each of our gut microbiomes, and to this end we are developing a computer simulation for how this might work in practice.”

The research was a collaboration between researchers at the University of Sydney, the University of Western Australia, Concord Hospital, ANZAC Research Institute and EWOS Innovation, Norway.

Read more about the research findings here. Story credit: University of Sydney newsroom.

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