A diet involving processed food may affect one’s metabolism more than realized, according to a recently published paper in the scientific journal Communications Biology by Joseph F. Pierre, PhD, an assistant professor in the Divisions of Neonatology and Pediatric Obesity and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Dr. Pierre’s research focuses on how gut microbial communities (bacteria, yeast, and fungi) and their metabolites influence host metabolic and physiological outcomes in the setting of bariatric surgery, parenteral nutrition, and more recently, cancer. The paper titled, “The gut mycobiome of healthy mice is shaped by the environment and correlates with metabolic outcomes in response to diet,” highlights how the mycobiome, or groups of mold and yeasts in the intestines, adapt to different foods. Studies were conducted in Dr. Pierre’s lab in conjunction with researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“We used a processed diet, high in purified carbohydrates that represents many western diets, to provide a risk factor for changes in the mycobiome that may associate with changes in host phenotype,” he said. “Our results highlight the potential importance of the gut mycobiome in health, and they have implications for human and experimental metabolic studies. The implication for human microbiome studies, which often examine only bacteria and sample only fecal communities, is that the mycobiome may have unappreciated effects on microbiome-associated outcomes.”
Additional authors on the paper include Tahliyah S. Mims, UTHSC Department of Pediatrics; Qusai Al Abdallah, UTHSC Department of Pediatrics; Justin D. Stewart, Villanova University; Sydney P. Watts, UTHSC Department of Pediatrics; Catrina T. White, UTHSC Department of Pediatrics; Thomas V. Rousselle, UTHSC Department of Surgery; Ankush Gosain, MD, PhD, FACS, FAAP, UTHSC Division of Pediatric Surgery; Amandeep Bajwa, PhD, UTHSC Department of Surgery; Joan C. Han, MD, UTHSC Departments of Pediatrics and Physiology; and Kent A. Willis, MD, UTHSC Department of Pediatrics and Department of Neonatology-University of Alabama at Birmingham.