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Nitrogen a key driver for gut health

IANS | Sydney |

The number of nitrogen microbes found in an individual’s gut play an important role in determining the type of diet strategy that can yield results, a new research has found.
Though there are different ways by which a person can have a good diet, but the same diet does not work in a same way for every individual, according to the study.
“There are many different diet strategies that claim to promote gut health, and until now it has been very difficult to establish clear causality between various types of diet and their effect on the host’s microbiome,” said lead author Andrew Holmes, Associate Professor from the University of Sydney in Australia.
“This is because there are many complex factors at play, including food composition, eating pattern and genetic background,” added Holmes.
For the study, researchers put 858 mice on 25 different diets composed of different amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. The results showed that there was a “tipping point” across all diets that related to how nutrients from the diet became available to nitrogen in the gut.
Despite the huge diversity of gut bacteria, two main response patterns emerged. Microbe species either increased or decreased in their abundance depending on the animal’s protein and carbohydrate intake.
“The largest nutrient requirements for our gut bacteria are carbon and nitrogen in the foods we eat. As carbohydrates contain no nitrogen but protein does, the bacterial community response to the host animal’s diet is strongly affected by this diets’ protein-carbohydrate ratio,” Holmes said.
The findings showed that the availability of intestinal nitrogen to microbes in the gut plays a key role in regulating interactions between gut microbes and their host animal. 
The same pattern was seen across almost all groups of gut bacteria which indicated that the makeup of the microbial ecosystem is fundamentally shaped by a need to access nitrogen in the intestinal environment, according to the study.
The study aims to promote better dietary combinations to achieve maximum gut health and was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.