A new study led by Paolo Lionette at the Meyer Children Hospital in Florence, Italy compares gut microbiota in healthy children in Burkina Faso in western Africa to healthy Italian children and finds considerable differences. They conclude that diet seems to have a strong influence on makeup of the gut’s bacterial colony and in turn affects the immune system.
Among other things, the bacteria in the African children are more adept at producing short-chain fatty acids that other studies have show help protect the intestines from inflammation, “which could explain why inflammatory bowel disease is almost unheard of in African communities that eat high-fiber diets”, Lionetti says.
Article on Science magazine.
Original study at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.