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Annual Microbiome Issue: Inflammation and Microbial Diversity

Healthy Diet Rich in Non-Digestible Carbohydrates Supports Healthy Weight in Children


Significant correlations are made between gut microbiota and obesity in children. However, these researchers wanted to determine if this implication also plays a role in the development of obesity in the genetic disease population. Researchers look to determine if a diet rich in non-digestible, yet fermentable carbohydrates would contribute to the alleviation of metabolic issues within this population.

In a hospitalized intervention trial of children with obesity and Prader-Willi syndrome, the diet rich in non-digestible carbohydrates induced significant weight-loss, as well as structural changes within the gut microbiota. They found that children who were genetically obese with Pader-Willi syndrome shared a similar gut microbiome with children who have diet related obesity.

  • Almost all parameters indicated a significant alleviation of metabolic deteriorations in children with both genetic and simple obesity after 30 days of dietary intervention with non-digestible fermentable carbohydrates.
  • With one-month intervention, the SO (simple obesity) cohort lost 9.5 + 0.4 of their initial bodyweight, and the PWS (Prader-Willi syndrome) cohort 7.6 + 0.6.
  • Both PWS and SO children showed significant improvement in markers of metabolic health.
  • Both cohorts experienced improved liver, improved glucose homeostasis, and decreased blood levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins.
  • After two more months, the PWS cohort lost a total of 18.3 + 1.0 % of their initial bodyweight and continued improvement in all metabolic panels.
Key Points:
  • Making dietary changes can help with balancing the gut-microbiome, and thus support healthy range of metabolic markers associated with obesity.
  • When nutrients are presented to inappropriate bacteria, high levels of fermentation in the digestive tract are possible.
  • Consuming non-digestible, fermentable carbohydrates can promote metabolic health in conditions associated with human genetic obesity.

Robust Microbial Diversity Promotes Urinary Health


Researchers hypothesize that colonizing the bladder with a benign strain of E. coli would prevent a catheter associated urinary tract infection. Adults with chronic indwelling urinary catheters received study catheters that were pre-coated with E. coli HU2117. Ten subjects were enrolled. All participants remained co-colonized with other microorganisms present in the urine immediately before the study catheter insertion, despite antibiotics and catheter change during treatment. They monitored the organisms in the bladder for 28 days.

  • Eight of the ten subjects became colonized with E. coli HU2117.
  • All subjects remained colonized by uropathogens.
  • Five subjects suffered invasive UTI, 3 febrile UTI and two urosepsis/bacteremia, all associated with overgrowth of urinary pathogen.
  • Colonization with E. coli HU2117 did not impact the diversity of bacteria in the bladder.
  • Subjects who developed infections had a less diverse microbiome in the bladder.
Key Points:
  • Increased diversity of the bladder microbiome may be associated with healthy urinary tract function.
  • The use of antimicrobials to treat bacteria in the bladder, without symptoms, may be ineffective and potentially have a deleterious effect on the bladder microbiome.
  • Diversity of the bladder microbiome may become a useful tool for identifying the health and resiliency of the urinary tract.

Healthy Diversity of the Gut Microbiome Supports Appropriate Maintenance of Cytokines and Inflammatory Response


Aging is associated with an increase in CRP (C-reactive protein) and cytokines in the body, which can impact tissue health. Reducing these age-related changes may provide an effective path to maintain cognitive health, metabolic health, blood sugar metabolism, and healthy aging processes.

Researchers looked specifically at the effect of VSL#3; a probiotic supplement associated with healthy maintenance of the GI tract and function, as well as a reduction of cytokines.

This study was an open label, randomized, multi-center study. The researchers assessed the impact of the participant’s diet, with or without the addition of VSL#3 on various biomarkers of inflammation, nutrition, oxidative stress, and intestinal microbiota in 62 healthy individuals aged 65-85 years. For eight weeks participants followed web-based dietary advice, either alone or with the supplementation of VSL#3. Blood and stool samples were collected on day 1 and day 56.

  • Diet alone reduced ESR and supported healthy levels of cholesterol and glucose.
  • The addition of the probiotic helped to support healthy levels of homocysteine and improved folate and vitamin B12 status, which are both seen to commonly decrease with age.
  • Those in the probiotic group who demonstrated low levels of inflammation at the start of the study also showed the largest increases of bifidobacteria at the end of the study. This association points the potential necessity of bifidobacteria to support the healthy aging process.
Key Points:
  • Dietary changes, with the addition of a probiotic, may help with supporting the healthy aging process while maintaining metabolic and cognitive health beyond that of just dietary changes alone.

  1. Zhang C, Yin A, Li H et al. (2015). Dietary Modulation of Gut Microbiota Contributes to Alleviation of Both Genetic and Simple Obesity in Children. Ebio Medicine.2(8): 968-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.07.007. Available at:
  2. Horwitz D, McCue T, Mapes AC et al. (2015). Decreased microbiota diversity associated with urinary tract infection in a trial of bacterial interference. J Infect. 71(3) 358-67. Doi 10.1016/j.jinf.2015.05.014 Available at:
  3. Valencia L, Pinto A, Bourdel-Marchasson l et al. (2015). Impact of personalized diet and probiotic supplementation on inflammation, nutritional parameters and intestinal microbiota- The “RISTOMED project”: Randomized controlled trial in healthy older people. Clin Nutr. 34(4) 593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.09.023. Epub 2014 Oct.8 Available at:
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