21 Jan Want to prevent getting sick this winter? Diversify!
We have known for some time that a diverse gut microbiome is very helpful in preventing infections. A new study in the journal Science explains the mechanism behind this protection:
Turns out a large and varied community of gut microbes also consumes a diverse array of nutrients. The more nutrients consumed, the fewer pathogenic microbes have the fuel they need to colonize and invade.
One of the study authors commented about the study: “Increasing the number of species in the community tended to increase the communities’ “protectiveness” with some species of bacteria being more specifically targeted at eliminating the pathogens studied but none alone being able to prevent colonization with the bacteria alone. When 10 bacteria (and, even better, 50 species) including those specific species were pooled, they were able to stop the pathogen in its tracks”!
And how do we get a large, diversified microbiome? By eating a lot of different fiber-rich food. I always encourage my patients to explore produce, nuts, seeds, and grains they don’t typically eat. Feed the “good guys” and they will out-compete the “bad guys”.