How Eating Yogurt Affects Your Gut | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 44 | p. 34 | Concentrates
Issue Date: October 31, 2011

How Eating Yogurt Affects Your Gut

Gene sequencing and mass spectrometry detect how the poster probiotic food affects digestion-aiding gut microflora
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: microbiome, genomics, metabolomics, food science

Evaluating health claims for foods, such as yogurt, that are enriched with probiotic bacterial strains has never been easy, but a multi-institution team says their analysis of genes and metabolites could do the trick (Sci. Transl. Med., DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002701). Washington University School of Medicine microbiologist Jeffrey I. Gordon, with coworkers at Duke University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, examined how yogurt consumption affects gut microbiomes, which aid digestion. They examined stool samples from identical twin women and mice colonized with a select pool of human gut microflora to determine patterns of gene expression before, during, and after consumption of a popular yogurt brand. Eating yogurt didn’t alter the makeup of gut bacterial communities but did boost expression of genes linked to various metabolic pathways. In particular, the daily yogurt dose enhanced breakdown of certain polysaccharides, as confirmed through mass spectrometry of metabolites in the mice’s urine. The team suggests that their methods could be applied broadly to study probiotic foods’ effects.

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