A New Path Toward Microbiome-Informed Precision Nutrition

Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) researchers have simulated personalized, microbiome-mediated responses to diet and predict individual-specific short-chain fatty acid production rates in response to different dietary, prebiotic, and probiotic inputs.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are beneficial molecules created by the bacteria residing in our gut that are closely tied to improved host metabolism, lower systemic inflammation, better cardiovascular health, lower cancer risk, and more. However, SCFA profiles can vary widely between individuals consuming the same exact diet and we currently lack tools for predicting this inter-individual variation. Researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) have developed a novel way to simulate personalized, microbiome-mediated responses to diet. They use a microbial community-scale metabolic modeling (MCMM) approach to predict individual-specific SCFA production rates in response to different dietary, prebiotic, and probiotic inputs. In other words, ISB scientists can build a “digital twin” of gut microbiome metabolism that can simulate personalized responses to diet, using gut microbiome sequencing data and information on dietary intake to constrain each individual-specific model. They detailed their results in a paper published June 24, 2024 in Nature Microbiology. The article is titled “Microbial Community-Scale Metabolic Modelling Predicts Personalized Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production Profiles in the Human Gut.”

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