Effects of childhood diet over lifetime health : study

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Effects of unhealthy food followed young mice into adulthood


Eating an excessive amount of fat and sugar as a toddler can alter your microbiome for all times , albeit you later learn to eat healthier, a replacement study in mice suggests.


The study by UC Riverside researchers is one among the primary to point out a big decrease within the total number

and variety of gut bacteria in mature mice fed an unhealthy diet as juveniles.


“We studied mice, but the effect we observed is like kids having a Western diet, high in fat and sugar and

their gut microbiome still being affected up to six years after puberty,” explained UCR evolutionary physiologist Theodore Garland.


A paper describing the study has recently been published within the Journal of Experimental Biology.


The microbiome refers to all the bacteria as well as fungi, parasites, and viruses that live on and inside a human or animal.

Most of those microorganisms find within the intestines, and most of them are helpful, stimulating the system , breaking down food and helping synthesize key vitamins.


In a healthy body, there’s a balance of pathogenic and beneficial organisms.

However, if the balance disturb , either through the utilization of antibiotics, illness, or an unhealthy diet, the body can become vulnerable to disease.


In this study, Garland’s team looked for impacts on the microbiome after dividing their mice into four groups: half fed the standard, ‘healthy’ diet, half-fed the less healthy ‘Western’ diet, half with access to a running wheel for exercise, and a half without.


After three weeks spent on these diets, all mice were returned to a typical diet and no exercise, which is generally how mice are kept during a laboratory.
At the 14-week mark, the team examined the range and abundance of bacteria within the animals.


They found that the number of bacteria such as Muribaculum intestine was significantly reduced in the Western diet group. This type of bacteria is involved in carbohydrate metabolism.


The analysis also showed that the gut bacteria are sensitive to the quantity of exercise the mice got.

Muribaculum bacteria increased in mice fed a typical diet who had access to a running wheel and decreased in mice on a high-fat diet whether or not they had exercise or not.


Researchers believe this species of bacteria and the family of bacteria that it belongs to might influence the amount of energy available to its host.
Research continues into other functions that this sort of bacteria may have.


One other effect of note was the rise during a highly similar species that are enriched after five weeks of treadmill training during a study by other researchers, suggesting that exercise alone may increase its presence.


Overall, the UCR researchers found that early-life Western diet had more long-lasting effects on the microbiome than did early-life exercise.


Garland’s team would really like to repeat this experiment and take samples at additional points in time, to raised understand when the changes in mouse microbiomes first appear, and whether or not they extend into even later phases of life.


Regardless of when the consequences first appear, however, the researchers say it’s significant that they are observed after changing the diet, then changing it back.


The takeaway, Garland said, is essential, “You are not only what you eat, but what you ate as a child!”

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