OPEN PloS one | 15 Jun 2017
K Lawrence and J Hyde
Manipulating gut bacteria in the microbiome, through the use of probiotics and prebiotics, has been found to have an influence on both physical and emotional wellbeing. This study uses a dietary manipulation ‘The Gut Makeover’ designed to elicit positive changes to the gut bacteria within the microbiome. 21 healthy participants undertook ‘The Gut Makeover’ for a four week period. Weight and various aspects of health were assessed pre and post intervention using the Functional Medicine Medical Symptoms Questionnaire (MSQ). Paired sample t-tests revealed a significant reduction in self-reported weight at the end of the intervention. Adverse medical symptoms related to digestion, cognition and physical and emotional wellbeing, were also significantly reduced during the course of the dietary intervention. The intervention, designed to manipulate gut bacteria, had a significant impact on digestion, reducing IBS type symptoms in this non-clinical population. There was also a striking reduction in negative symptoms related to cognition, memory and emotional wellbeing, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. Dietary gut microbiome manipulations may have the power to exert positive physical and psychological health benefits, of a similar nature to those reported in studies using pre and probiotics. The small sample size and lack of control over confounding variables means that it will be important to replicate these findings in larger-scale controlled, prospective, clinical trials. This dietary microbiome intervention has the potential to improve physical and emotional wellbeing in the general population but also to be investigated as a treatment option for individuals with conditions as diverse as IBS, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
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