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Western diets damage gut microbiota over generations, in ways hard to reverse.

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Sorry people, a few tubs of yogurt are not going to make up for abusing your microbiome for decades. Gotta keep that fiber high all the time!

Okay so if I eat Greek yogurt AND high fiber I can reverse the damage from previous poor nutrition?

Maybe not.

According to this article, a damaged microbiome cannot be repaired easily:

Restoring microbiome diversity is challenging. 

Even when the researchers switched subsequent generations back to a high-fiber diet, the shift failed to restore the microbiotic diversity that had originally flourished in the guts of their ancestor generations.

The findings suggest that, when diseases arise from a depleted gut microbiome, it may take more than a course of probiotics or a daily tub of yogurt to manage those diseases.

The findings demonstrate "a diet-induced ratcheting effect" in which species of microbiota "are not effectively transferred to the next generation," the researchers wrote. Bacteria belonging to the Bacteroidales family were particularly prone to inter-generational die-offs that couldn't be reversed with intentional re-introduction of a diet high in fiber.

There are no "charismatic megafauna"--the equivalent of tigers and elephants--among the trillions of microbes that colonize the gut. (Suffice it to say, there won't likely soon be campaigns to "save the Bacteroidales.") Indeed, the microscopic population of the human gut is so large and diverse, scientists are far from fully characterizing what role individual taxa play in health. But there's clear and growing evidence that species diversity in there is a key factor in digestive, metabolic and even immune health, and when that diversity takes a hit, some aspect of health is sure to suffer.

The authors of the latest study warn that their data hint that "further deterioration of the Western microbiota is possible," as generational changes drive some taxa closer to the brink. The results of doubling down on diets that pose a threat to the gut's microbiotic diversity could be downright apocalyptic, they suggest.

"Microbiota can change on a timescale that is much faster than the host," wrote the team, led by Erica D. Sonnenburg and Justin L. Sonnenburg of the Stanford University School of Medicine. That fact makes it possible that if dramatic forces--including perhaps a wholesale abandonment of diets rich in fiber--wreak abrupt changes in populations of gut microbiota, the resulting changes "cannot be accommodated by our human biology."

The result might be diseases that defy easy treatment.

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