According to a recent animal study conducted on mice, consuming excessive fat and sugar-loaded food during childhood may alter one’s microbiome for life, even if the person later learns to eat healthier. The researchers of UC Riverside suggest a notable decrease in the total number and diversity of gut bacteria in matured mice when fed an unhealthy diet as juveniles.
Microbiome refers to bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, most of which are found in the intestines. These foster the stimulation of the immune system along with breaking down food and synthesizing key vitamins.
In this study, to examine the impacts on the microbiome, the mice were divided into four groups. In one group, half were fed the standard, ‘healthy’ diet, half were fed the less healthy ‘Western’ diet, half had access to a running wheel for exercise, and a half without any such access. At the 14-week mark, the team examined the diversity and abundance of bacteria in the animals. Thus the researchers concluded that the juvenile diet has long-lasting impacts on the adult microbiome after a substantial washout period.
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McNamara, M. P., Singleton, J. M., Cadney, M. D., Ruegger, P. M., Borneman, J., & Garland, T. (2021). Early-life effects of juvenile Western diet and exercise on adult gut microbiome composition in mice. The Journal of experimental biology, 224(Pt 4), jeb239699. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.239699