Degradation of the intrinsic gut microbiome by processed food consumption
The depletion of the microbiome may be associated with the increased prevalence of complex conditions like allergies, autoimmune, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
These bacteria exist in a delicate interdependent ecosystem that supports our immune system, which protects us from viruses and pathogens and help us absorb nutrients and produce energy. The complex signaling mechanisms have evolved over millions of years, but have been decimated by hyper-processed foods.
In a recent study in Cell Host & Microbe, on the bacteria found in the intestine of a mummified iceman, Ötzi from the Ötztal Alps. Scientists compared samples of the mummy’s bacteria, to the genome of intestinal microorganisms of over 6500 modern individuals from all continents. The microbiome of contemporary non-westernized populations (from Tanzania and Ghana, which are not used to processed food and have non-Westernized hygiene practices and lifestyle was also compared.
The bacterial shift appears to be related to dietary changes rather than genetic changes, as the modern humans with non westernized diet had more similarity to the iceman.