Male and female gut microbes react differently to diet

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(NaturalNews) Males and females are different in many ways, one of which is their gut flora. Recent research has illustrated that even when the diets are the same, the gut microbes of men and women will react differently. This is significant, because it points to the fact that we need to tailor nutrition-based health/disease treatments for each sex to make them as effective as possible.

With the growing number of side-effects that can occur with prescription medications, naturally treating illness and disease with nutrition is becoming more and more popular (although it's been practiced since ancient times). It has even been illustrated that you can treat or reduce the effects of things like IBS, allergies, asthma and even cancer through nutrition. The fact that nutritional treatments can affect gut flora differently depending on the sex of the individual could have substantial effects in the future!

The Study

The research published in Nature Communications looked at the effect of an identical diet on the gut microbes of mice, fish and humans and how their reaction varied according to the sex of the individual. The research team found that the exact same diet significantly affected gut microbes differently between the sexes. For instance, sometimes different microbes would dominate or there would be a greater diversity in the microbes between the sexes.

While the researchers could not pinpoint why the microbes differed between the sexes, they hypothesized that hormones or how the immune systems function differently between males and females may be playing a role. While the reason for the differences may not be known, the effect that this research could have on nutritional treatment of disease and this field of research is significant. Lead author of the study Daniel Bolnick said, "Now we can go in with eyes open when we work on therapies for gut microbe problems, as many involve dietary changes. We can walk into those studies looking for something we weren't aware of before. All along we treated diet as if it works the same for men and women. Now we'll be approaching studies of therapies in a different way."

Other Effects Gut Microbes Have

There have been numerous studies on our estimated 100 trillion gut microbes. Not only can they hypothetically affect the nutritional treatment of disease, but a study out of McMaster University has linked our gut microbes to our mood by influencing anxiety and depression. The study compared germ-free and conventional mice and found that they differed significantly in behavior and brain chemistry all because of their gut microbes!

Finally, it has been found that gut flora actually differs and helps regulate your weight. Obese and lean individuals have different gut microbes it turns out; obese individuals, on the other hand, usually have dysfunctional gut microbiomes. Your gut microbes can help regulate your weight by affecting your insulin sensitivity, inflammation, energy storage and even energy expenditure. This is not to say that a person is obese or lean solely because of their gut flora whatsoever, but it is an interesting difference that could play a role.


It truly is amazing how greatly your gut flora can affect your mind and body. It is also amazing how much differently it can be between males and females. This new research is vital in helping evolve and make nutritional treatment for illnesses more effective by tailoring it to the sexes and their unique gut microbes.

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