In a study from the University of Tübingen, scientists found that a calorie-reduced diet can not only delay the development of metabolic diseases but also has a positive effect on the immune system.
The effect is mediated by an altered gut microbiome, which slows down the deterioration of the immune system in old age (immune senescence).
Around 2 billion people worldwide are overweight.
Obesity increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attack, or type 2 diabetes and can cause inflammation in the body that weakens the immune system.
This process is called immune senescence, an age-related change in the immune system.
In obese people, the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes can be delayed by a low-calorie diet. In addition, such a diet also has a positive effect on the immune system.
In the study, researchers examined the interactions between calorie-reduced diets, the microbiome, metabolism, and the immune system.
They first analyzed how a very low-calorie diet (800 kcal/day for 8 weeks) affected the gut microbiome of an obese woman.
In the next step, the researchers transplanted the gut microbiota before and after the diet intervention into germ-free mice.
In this way, they were able to determine the sole effects of the diet-shaped gut microbiome on metabolism and the immune system.
They found diet-altered gut microbiome improves metabolism and delays immune aging.
These findings suggest that the positive effects of a low-calorie diet on metabolism and the immune system are mediated via the gut microbiome.
The new findings could also be interesting for medical practice in the long term. The study may help set the stage for the development of a new way to treat metabolic and immune diseases.
If you care about gut health, please read studies about a big cause of leaky gut, fatty liver disease, and common high blood pressure drugs may lead to gut disease.
For more information about gut health, please see recent studies about fermented-food diets that can reduce inflammation, and improve gut health, and results showing certain fungi in your gut may drive pancreatic cancer growth.
The study was conducted by Reiner Jumpertz von Schwartzenberg et al and published in Microbiome.
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