Do you have the guts to handle bacteria?

Massey University Research

If you are a healthy person, aged between 19-65 years, have a low intake of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, legumes and nuts and seeds and resident in Manawatu, and keen to participate in a Massey University study, please email you have the guts- Genelle Healey Web

More than 100 trillion micro-organisms, including bacteria, live in our gut and what we eat influences those bacteria.

Researchers from Massey University and Plant & Food Research are trying to unravel the influence that a person’s long-term dietary fibre intake has on how gut bacteria responds to prebiotics.

The Study will hopefully help researchers discover what can be done to ensure that the bacteria living in our gut is ‘favourable’ to optimise our health.

Related diseases

Massey School of Food & Nutrition PhD student Genelle Healey said that obesity, diabetes and some gastrointestinal disorders like inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome can be related to the presence of ‘unfavourable’ bacteria.

Dietary fibre is not digested by humans; it reaches the large bowel where it is used by the gut bacteria as a source of energy. Prebiotics are types of dietary fibre shown to improve our health through their actions on ‘favourable’ gut bacteria,” she said.

Foods rich in dietary fibre include fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds. Some people consume a large amount of dietary fibre while others consume much less.

Do you have the guts- Poster“We believe that if someone is already consuming foods high in dietary fibre, the gut bacteria will probably respond in a different way to prebiotics, compared to the gut bacteria of an individual with a lower dietary fibre intake,” Ms Healey said.

As well as finding out what influence long-term diet has on the gut bacteria, participants will have their body composition analysed using the BodPod, as there may be links between body composition and the types of bacteria present in the gut. The BodPod measures a person’s fat mass and lean mass (muscle and bone).

Editor’s Note: BodPod is an Air Displacement Plethysmograph (ADP) that uses whole body densitometry to determine body composition (fat vs lean). Similar in principle to underwater weighing, the BodPod measures body mass (weight) using a very precise scale, and volume by sitting inside the BodPod.

Photo :

Genelle Healey tests a study participant in the BodPod (Picture: Massey News)

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