Researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden created a new mathematical model for the interaction of gut bacteria that aims to design healthy diet plans with the possibility of adding probiotics to improve patient's health.
Jens Nielsen, a professor of systems biology at the university, said that gut bacteria play an essential role in the health and development of diseases and that the new mathematical model could help in these areas. The study involved Swedish infants and adults with obesity in Finland.
Medical Xpress reported that the study showed how the mathematical model accurately predicts variables on the two groups, like the switch from liquid to solid food in infants that changed their intestinal bacterial composition, as well as the changes in gut bacteria on obese patients when moved to a restricted diet.
The study, entitled "CODY enables quantitatively spatiotemporal predictions on in vivo gut microbial variability induced by diet intervention," was published in the journal PNAS.
Factors to Consider in Designing Healthy Diet Plans
In creating the new mathematical model, the health news outlet reported that researchers need to consider various factors that will likely affect bacterial growth and function in the intestine.
They studied how the existing bacteria interact with each other, how they interact with the human host, and how the environment or the diet that a person has will affect them.
Moreover, they also analyzed how adding bacteria or changing a diet plan could affect these bacteria as they enter the intestine or how the changes in the diet could impact the intestinal composition.
The researchers had to consider whether these bacteria would still be alive, how they would interact with the existing gut bacteria, and how do different diet plans could affect gut bacteria.
Nielsen said that their mathematical model has accounted for all these factors. Not only that, but it also accounted for the way food travels the gastrointestinal tract and how it affects the bacteria along the way, which can be measured using blood samples and checking on the metabolites.
Diet and Gut Bacteria Studies Open Doors for Better Disease Treatments
Studies on diet and gut bacteria or human microbiome open new doors to create a better treatment for various diseases, Big News Network reported. Nielsen explained that research on bacterial composition offers the potential to influence the course of a disease, like obesity and cancer, and overall health.
The new mathematical model could work through careful selection of probiotics, bacteria that are helpful to the gut and believed to contribute to improving one's health, to design health diet plans to prevent diseases.
The team is looking at using their mathematical model to calculate the right type and amount of bacteria needed to treat various diseases. It will also help understand the role of bacteria in explaining why patients do not respond the same to similar treatments.
For instance, the model can be used in analyzing the microbiome on cancer treatment using antibodies. It would explain the role of the microbiome as to why some patients respond well to immunotherapy and some do not.