Study under review: Genetic determinants of the gut microbiome in UK twins
It is generally accepted that many environmental and lifestyle factors influence the composition of the gut microbiome, including age, diet, and disease state. Less well-investigated is the role that host genetics play in shaping microbiome composition.
Although preliminary evidence in humans and mice have suggested that specific strains of bacteria in the gut are associated with host genetic variation, other research has contested these findings. Specifically, research comparing the similarity of the microbiome in monozygotic twins to dizygotic twins found no significant differences, which suggests that genetics and heritability do not play a role in determining microbiome composition. However, these studies used small sample sizes (about 20-60 twin pairs total) that may have reduced the ability to detect a statistically significant difference between the groups.
Other Articles in Issue #21 (July 2016)
Interview: Norm Robillard, PhD
Gut health is extremely variable and complex, so learning from experts is important. Norm is a microbiologist whose expertise lies in the effect of diet on gut conditions.
Let the sun shine in! (to your retinal ganglion cells)
We've covered the detriments of night-time blue light before, but how important is getting blue light during the work day? This controlled trial looked at its effect on working memory.
Dampening exam anxiety with probiotics
When you're stressed out for an exam, you probably don't instinctively reach for probiotics. Your microbiome may impact anxiety though, and this trial tested a probiotic for anxiety-lessening around exam time.
Probiotics and prebiotics for atopic dermatitis
This meta-analysis looked at all the existing trials on the common type of eczema called "atopic dermatitis", to see if combining pro- and prebiotics helps reduce symptoms.
Potential relief for IBS through vitamin D
Vitamin D isn’t just for bone health. Its role in dampening inflammation and regulating immune responses suggest that it may help in treating IBS, which is directly tested in this randomized trial.
Interview: Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle is the senior dietitian at the nutrition and fitness tracking juggernaut MyFitnessPal. We discuss some tips for new moms thinking about diet considerations.
Fish oil showdown: anti-inflammatory effects of EPA vs. DHA
Chronic inflammation is a driver of many health conditions, and plays a key role in heart disease. Fish oil is a popular supplement partly due to its potential anti-inflammatory actions. But which omega-3 has a greater impact, EPA or DHA?
Heavy menstrual bleeding in athletes
An increasing proportion of athletes are female, yet the persistent issue of menstruation is rarely researched in the context of athletics. This study gets the ball rolling.
Could fasting help treat MS symptoms?
Multiple sclerosis involves immune attacks on the nervous system. Current treatments address symptoms, but may have substantial side effects. Fasting diets may both help symptoms and regeneration of existing damage.