More great microbiome research[i] out of Israel’s Weizman Institute of Science. (I wrote about some of their work in my last blog post, earlier this week.) In this case, researchers were attempting to ascertain how much our genes affect the constituents of our bacterial microbiota.
The current working hypothesis had been that our genetic makeup plays a major role in determining bacterial variations. However, the Weizman study[ii], just published in the journal, Nature, shows that genes play a very minor role (about 2%) in determining bacterial microbiome composition.
What they found is that in actuality, diet and lifestyle are “…by far the most dominant factors shaping our microbiome composition”!
The scientists then looked at how much our gut bacteria interact with our genes to modify our health. They analyzed microbiome/gene connections in relation to cholesterol, weight, blood glucose levels, and so forth. “The study results were very surprising. For most of these clinical measures, the association with bacterial genomes was at least as strong, in some cases stronger, than the association with the host’s human genome.”
That is, we CAN alter the composition of our bacteria microbiota and improve our health because our genes do not matter. And that is very good news.