Gut health and the human microbiome are trending topics in health and wellness circles. But what exactly is all the buzz about? It turns out, the old adage, ?you are what you eat? is more accurate than ever, especially considering your diet is also the foundation for culturing a microbial ecosystem in your gut that affects weight, disease, and perhaps even your mood.Research surrounding the human gut and microbiome is at the forefront of current scientific inquiry. The human microbiome, or the gut ecosystem, is comprised of more than 100 trillion microorganisms, both healthy and unhealthy, that assist many human processes. As more extensive clinical trials are conducted and innovative research is published, the intricate connections between the human gut, performance, and disease are becoming more apparent and robust. Diet has a direct impact on the quality of gut microbiota, which in turn affects metabolic processes and overall health. An unhealthy gut microbiome has been associated with irritable bowel disease, skin disorders such as acne and atopy, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and obesity.1 Currently, the U.S. ?has an obesity prevalence of 42.4 percent, making it one of the most obese populations globally. Copious research has linked obesity to health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiac disease. But interestingly, obesity has also been found to worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder that inflames joints, causing severe pain and discomfort. The increased weight placed on joints may aggravate the condition, as every additional 10 pounds of weight results in approximately 30-60 pounds of excessive force placed on the knees with each step.2
Authored by Zach Meeker, Research Assistant for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center. References:
- Durack J, Lynch SV. The gut microbiome: Relationships with disease and opportunities for therapy. J Exp Med. 2019 Jan 7;216(1):20-40. doi: 10.1084/jem.20180448. Epub 2018 Oct 15. PMID: 30322864; PMCID: PMC6314516.
- Role of Body Weight in Osteoarthritis. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.
- Belkaid Y, Hand TW. Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation. Cell. 2014 Mar 27;157(1):121-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.011. PMID: 24679531; PMCID: PMC4056765.
- Bodkhe R, Balakrishnan B, Taneja V. The role of microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2019 Jul 30;11:1759720X19844632. doi: 10.1177/1759720X19844632. PMID: 31431810; PMCID: PMC6685117.
- Chen J, Wright K, Davis JM, Jeraldo P, Marietta EV, Murray J, Nelson H, Matteson EL, Taneja V. An expansion of rare lineage intestinal microbes characterizes rheumatoid arthritis. Genome Med. 2016 Apr 21;8(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0299-7. PMID: 27102666; PMCID: PMC4840970.