There is a lot of research being undertaken regarding the influence of the gut microbiome on our physical and emotional health. Recent studies identified by Carmen Leitch in her Labroots blog post reviewed a study that explored the “connection between variations in the number of copies of a gene, AMY1, which codes for an enzyme called amylase, and certain bacteria in the gut and mouth.” Amylase is used by the body to encourage the growth of a bacteria called Ruminococcaceae – which break down hard to digest resistant starches. The production of Amylase is associated with the AMY1 gene and the study is looking at the link between genetics – enzyme – and bacteria and how these products can be manipulated to affect health. A dietary prescription for health rather than synthetic medication is on the horizon.

There are numerous other studies to be explored but one that caught my attention was by Eran Segal who is researching how personalised nutrition can impact diabetes management. In his presentation, he looks at the use of artificial sweeteners driving the rise in diabetes – so people are drinking sugar-free drinks in an attempt to manage weight and blood glucose levels but it may be the sweeteners that are causing them more issues. We will monitor his ongoing research with great interest.

The diet mantra of the moment appears to be cook from scratch – limit processed foods, use minimal meat, and portion size matters.

There are a number of CPD activities on the NCI website that reviews some of the research into diet and microbiome and the implications for health.