Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine used mouse models to examine how diet and feeding habits affect these intestinal microbes—and the health of the hosts, particularly with obesity and type 2 diabetes—in a new paper that was published on July 5, 2022 in Cell Reports.
Each person’s gut is home to 500 to 1,000 different bacterial species, which might total 100,000 trillion germs.
The ileum joins the cecum, the beginning of the large intestine, at the end of the small intestine in both mice and men.
Nutrients from liquid food are extracted in the ileum, while water extraction starts in the cecum, which also serves as the start of the colon. Both processes are intricate, dynamic processes that are greatly influenced by everything from the sorts of meals consumed and when to the microbial inhabitants of the gut, whose presence and activities affect digestion, nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, and immune system development.
The gut microbiome is continually changing, not just as a result of what we consume but also as a result of the time of day, according to senior study author Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD. It is challenging to comprehend what is happening in the gut because the majority of researchers only have access to pictures of this constantly changing environment. In order to understand how diet and the microbiome interact to effect weight gain and diabetes, we are attempting to take numerous snapshots throughout the day.
And what we’ve discovered is that cyclical variations in the gut microbiota are crucial for health because they support the circadian clock, which in turn supports the regulation and management of glucose, cholesterol, and fatty acids — as well as overall metabolic health.
Zarrinpar and colleagues explain the effects and interactions of these variables with regard to the ileum’s special roles in digestion and absorption. They specifically examined the effects of time-restricted feeding (TRF) and diet-induced obesity (DIO) on the makeup and transcriptome of the ileal microbiome in mice models. The scientists discovered that intestinal clocks and the signalling pathways that help regulate them were disturbed in mouse models with DIO and the lack of TRF. In other words, the mice grew to be overweight and unwell.
According to Zarrinpar, these results highlight the role of nutrition and time-restricted feeding habits in preserving a healthy gut microbiota, which in turn influences circadian rhythms that control metabolic health. The microbiome and the host have a complex interaction, with the former influencing the latter’s gastrointestinal health and functioning.
As per the authors, this results can guide future research, particularly inquiries into how the gut functions or how medications affect gut function based on the microbiome’s status at a specific moment or time of day.