Changing your immune system / gut microbiota interactions with diet

This 2021 human clinical trial investigated associations between gut microbiota and host adaptive immune system components:

“Diet modulates gut microbiome, and gut microbes impact the immune system. We used two gut microbiota-targeted dietary interventions – plant-based fiber or fermented foods – to determine how each influences microbiome and immune system in healthy adults. Using a 17-week randomized, prospective study design combined with -omics measurements of microbiome and host and extensive immune profiling, we found distinct effects of each diet:

  • Those in the high-fiber diet arm increased their fiber consumption from an average of 21.5±8.0 g per day at baseline to 45.1±10.7 g per day at the end of the maintenance phase.
  • Participants in the high-fermented food diet arm consumed an average of 0.4±0.6 servings per day of fermented food at baseline, which increased to an average of 6.3±2.9 servings per day at the end of the maintenance phase.
  • Participants in the high-fiber diet arm did not increase their consumption of fermented foods (Figure 1.C dashed line), nor did participants consuming the high-fermented food diet increase their fiber intake.

fiber vs fermented

Fiber-induced microbiota diversity increases may be a slower process requiring longer than the six weeks of sustained high consumption achieved in this study. High-fiber consumption increased stool microbial protein density, carbohydrate-degrading capacity, and altered SCFA production, indicating that microbiome remodeling was occurring within the study time frame, just not through an increase in total species.

Comparison of immune features from baseline to the end of the maintenance phase in high-fiber diet participants revealed three clusters of participants representing distinct immune response profiles. No differences in total fiber intake were observed between inflammation clusters. A previous study demonstrated that a dietary intervention, which included increasing soluble fiber, was less effective in improving inflammation markers in individuals with lower microbiome richness.

In both diets, an individual’s microbiota composition became more similar to that of other participants within the same arm over the intervention, despite retaining the strong signal of individuality.

Coupling dietary interventions to longitudinal immune and microbiome profiling can provide individualized and population-wide insight. Our results indicate that fermented foods may be valuable in countering decreased microbiome diversity and increased inflammation.”

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00754-6 “Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status” (not freely available). See https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.30.321448v2.full for the freely available preprint version.


Didn’t care for this study’s design that ignored our innate immune system components yet claimed “extensive immune profiling.” Not.

There was sufficient relevant evidence on innate immunity cells – neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells, and dendrites – when the trial started five years ago. But maybe this didn’t satisfy study sponsors?

This study found significant individual differences in the high-fiber group. These individual differences failed to stratify into subgroup p-value significance.

I won’t start eating fermented dairy or fermented vegetable brines to “counter decreased microbiome diversity and increased inflammation.” I’m rolling the die with high-fiber intake (2+ times more grams than this clinical trial, over a 3+ times longer period so far).

Changing to a high-fiber diet this year to increase varieties and numbers of gut microbiota is working out alright. No worries about “increased inflammation” because twice-daily 3-day-old microwaved broccoli sprouts since Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts have taken care of inflammation for 15 months now.

What effects have this year’s diet changes had on my adaptive and innate immune systems? 2021’s spring allergy season wasn’t pleasant. But late summer’s ragweed onslaught hasn’t kept me indoors – unlike other years – despite day after day of readings like today’s:

ragweed

Regarding an individual’s starting point and experiences, those weren’t the same as family, friends, significant other, identified group members, or strangers. Each of us has to find our own way to getting well.

Agenda-free evidence may provide good guidelines. So does how you feel.

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