People with dysbiosis (or altered gut flora) are always asking how or why the flora in their GI tracts got so bad. The usual culprits are antibiotics, high stress and illnesses. It is also known that what you eat plays a role. Most studies to date have looked at the longer term effects of diet on flora, ranging from months to years. However, a new study, published in the journal Nature, showed that what you eat can alter your flora in as little as one day.
Rapid and Radical Changes
The study, conducted at Harvard University, showed that eating an animal-based diet can radically alter the gut flora after just one day, promoting the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering and inflammatory response. In addition, switching to a mostly plant-based diet also led to rapid changes in the gut flora.
More studies will need to be done so we can determine exactly how we can use food to reproducibly alter gut flora, but this study provides definitive proof that what we eat can have a dramatic and rapid effect on the balance of bacteria in our GI tract. This can have significant effects on gene expression, as it has also been shown that many genes are turned on or off based on the makeup of the gut flora.