`Study: Med Diet Adherence Linked with Lower Intestinal Inflammation - Olive Oil Times

Study: Med Diet Adherence Linked with Lower Intestinal Inflammation

Oct. 12, 2022
Daniel Dawson

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Researchers in Canada demon­strated that fol­low­ing an eat­ing pro­gram sim­i­lar to the Mediterranean diet was asso­ci­ated with improved micro­biome com­po­si­tion and lower intesti­nal inflam­ma­tion.

Crohn’s dis­ease is an inflam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease that causes tis­sue swelling in the diges­tive tract and often leads to abdom­i­nal pain and mal­nu­tri­tion. While its causes are unknown, pre­vi­ous stud­ies sug­gest that diet is an impor­tant con­trib­u­tor to Crohn’s dis­ease risk.

This study sug­gests that an inter­ven­tion to pre­vent dis­ease onset should con­sider the base­line micro­biome, as well as a cer­tain diet, which may only be ben­e­fi­cial depend­ing on the pres­ence of a cer­tain micro­biome pro­file.- Williams Turpin, researcher, Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto

Other stud­ies have shown that Crohn’s dis­ease patients also have dif­fer­ent micro­bial com­po­si­tions from healthy peo­ple, which led the researchers to hypoth­e­size that the two are con­nected.

To test the hypoth­e­sis, the researchers col­lected stool sam­ples from 2,289 healthy first-degree rel­a­tives of Crohn’s dis­ease patients and had them fill out val­i­dated food fre­quency ques­tion­naires ask­ing about their diet in the pre­vi­ous year.

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The researchers iden­ti­fied three dietary and micro­bial com­po­si­tion clus­ters based on their analy­sis. One of the clus­ters resem­bled the Mediterranean diet, one resem­bled a Western diet and the final dietary clus­ter was a hybrid.

The researchers found that the peo­ple fol­low­ing a MedDiet-like eat­ing pat­tern gen­er­ally had a micro­bial com­po­si­tion with an abun­dance of fiber-degrad­ing bac­te­ria – Ruminococcus and Faecalibacterium – and sig­nif­i­cantly lower lev­els of gut inflam­ma­tion.

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This is likely due to the increased amount of fiber asso­ci­ated with higher con­sump­tion of leafy greens, cere­als and other fiber-rich food items [in the MedDiet],” Williams Turpin, a researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and lead author of the study, told Olive Oil Times.

In this envi­ron­ment, microbes that are capa­ble of degrad­ing fiber (which are not digested by the host) have an eco­log­i­cal advan­tage, which may pro­mote their abun­dance in humans con­sum­ing more fiber-rich food,” he added.

There was no evi­dence to sug­gest the con­sump­tion of a sin­gle food item directly led to a more diverse micro­biome. However, Turpin said, olive oil showed a trend toward increased micro­biome diver­sity,” but a weak asso­ci­a­tion with lower inflam­ma­tion in the expected direc­tion.”

Despite the murk­i­ness between the links of sin­gle foods to gut micro­biome diver­sity and sub­clin­i­cal inflam­ma­tion, the links with long-term dietary pat­terns are more evi­dent.

Our study demon­strated that the lower level of sub­clin­i­cal inflam­ma­tion might be related to both the dietary pat­tern and the asso­ci­ated micro­biome,” Turpin said. This con­clu­sion is sup­ported by causal infer­ence analy­sis demon­strat­ing that 47 per­cent of the anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties of the Mediterranean-like diet were dri­ven by the micro­biome.”

This also means that a Mediterranean-like diet has a direct effect on sub­clin­i­cal inflam­ma­tion (53 per­cent),” he added. We believe that a micro­biome capa­ble of degrad­ing fiber may pro­duce ben­e­fi­cial short chain fatty acids in vivo, which are known for their anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties.”

Turpin said the study’s results could help guide future dietary strate­gies that affect the micro­bial com­po­si­tion and host gut inflam­ma­tion to pre­vent dis­eases.

This study sug­gests that an inter­ven­tion to pre­vent dis­ease onset should con­sider the base­line micro­biome, as well as a cer­tain diet, which may only be ben­e­fi­cial depend­ing on the pres­ence of a cer­tain micro­biome pro­file,” he said.

This is espe­cially true since this study has iden­ti­fied that cer­tain bac­te­ria con­tribute to the anti-inflam­ma­tory poten­tial of a Mediterranean diet,” Turpin added.

The results of this study com­ple­ment those of a 2020 study that found patients suf­fer­ing from Crohn’s dis­ease who fol­lowed a Mediterranean diet, includ­ing olive oil, for six months saw their con­di­tions improve.

Instead of focussing on gut micro­bio­mes, the researchers inves­ti­gated the rela­tion­ship between weight and the dis­ease. Obese Crohn’s dis­ease patients fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet saw their body mass index fall along with the occur­rence of their symp­toms.


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