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Food, bacteria and immunity

By Tim Sandle     Nov 11, 2013 in Health
Research is starting to show that the food we eat has a huge bearing on the composition of the microbes in the gut, and that these microbes can affect health and immunity.
The human body contains a vast array of microorganisms and many of these reside in the gut. The gut microbiota number in their trillions and are made up of more than a 1,000 different species.
Some the effects have been examined by Dr Paul Ross, Head of the Teagasc Food Research Program and Principal Investigator at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, Teagasc, Food Research Center, Moorepark.
Dr. Ross has found that the most significant changes occur following birth, during inflammatory bowel conditions, gastrointestinal infection and in the elderly. It is these changes that can affect health and the risk of certain diseases.
Other studies have indicated that some of these effects can be overcome by making changes to the diet, that is that diet can "program" the gut microbiota in a way that correlates with health status. This includes a study reported by the Digital Journal which revealed that specific gut bacteria are beneficial for maintaining a healthy intestine. This was according to a new study carried out using fruit flies and mice.
The composition of bacteria and disease looks set to become a new branch of medical research.
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