Posted on Jun 12, 2018, 1 p.m.
Differences in human gut microbiome has been shown between people living in rural areas vs urban areas of Nigeria, and they begin at a very young age, findings may help to gain understanding as to why traditional populations have much lower rates of Western diseases, as published in the journal Cell Reports.
Studies conducted in the past analyzing microbiomes typically compared rural hunter gatherer communities with distant urban European or American populations, this study compared microbiomes of urban and rural African people of the same geographic area, specifically designed to fill in gaps of knowledge about human gut microbiome variations, as well as metabolome in relation to subsistence patterns in geographic close populations; this study being unique as it analyses microbiomes of infants and adults.
Diets of people living in rural areas consisted of untreated water, grains, tubers, and leafy soups. Diets of people living in urban areas included treated water and processed foods, with more elements of traditional Nigerian diets rather than Western countries.
Intestinal microbiota of rural people contained more of bacterial species needed to digest fiber and lower levels of amino acids and biogenic amines, suggesting consuming diets of less protein. Infants living in rural areas were found to have had microbiome profiles which were typically more diverse and more similar to those of adults.
According to the researchers findings are notable and studies such as this have evolutionary relevance as they recall ways of life that characterize human history from hunting and gathering of ancestors to small scale agriculture to post industrial Western lifestyles.
Distinctive metabolic and microbial traits observed in traditional populations tend to have lower rate of Western diseases, and may help researchers gain understandings to mechanisms that lead to rupture of microbiome host relationships and the inflammation and immune dysregulation that follows.