You are what you eat: Large-scale study finds gut microbes associated with lower risks for diabetes, heart disease, obesity


recent article in the Harvard Gazette outlines the findings of study co-authored by Professor Curtis Huttenhower examining the relationship between diet, the microbiome, and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. The success of the Personalised Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT 1) study is attributable to the size of the study which involved just over 1,100 participants in the U.K. and the U.S., and the detailed information it collected on microbiome sequence data, long-term dietary information, and hundreds of cardiometabolic blood markers.  According to Huttenhower, “Both diet and the gut microbiome are highly personalized. PREDICT is one of the first studies to begin unraveling this complex molecular web at scale.”

The study, published in Nature Medicine, found significant associations between the gut microbiome and foods, food groups and general dietary composition, which were strongly influenced by the presence and diversity of healthy and plant-based foods. Moreover, the study indicated that microbiome composition was predictive for a large panel of cardiometabolic blood markers in patients, including those associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease and impaired glucose tolerance. The findings are exciting as it indicates that microbiome data may have the potential to determine the risk of cardiometabolic disease among people who have not yet had symptoms.

For more on the study findings, see the summary in the Gazette or the published study abstract.