Scientists find the cause of gut inflammation

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Our gastrointestinal system, or simply our gut, is like a bustling city of microscopic entities, including thousands of bacteria species, viruses, yeasts, and protists.

While many are helpful, maintaining our body in good shape, others can be troublesome. One such inhabitant is a protist called Blastocystis, the most common of its kind found in the human gut.

It comes in different subtypes (ST), each interacting with our bodies in distinct ways. Some promote a healthy gut, while others can cause gut problems, leading to conditions like diarrhea.

The Rare Subtype: Blastocystis ST7

In particular, researchers in Singapore have noted a subtype known as Blastocystis ST7, which is frequent in local patients suffering from diarrhea and is more prevalent in Asia.

Investigations led by experts from the National University of Singapore focused on understanding how this subtype induces gut diseases.

They found that this microorganism produces a rare substance during its metabolism named indole-3-acetyldehyde (I3AA).

How I3AA affects the Gut

This unique substance, I3AA, interacts with immune cells in the gut, disrupting the usual tolerance to other gut bacteria and causing inflammation even when exposed to typical gut bacteria.

This research is crucial as it unveils, for the first time, how this rare metabolite promotes inflammation in the gut by inhibiting protective immune cells and stimulating inflammatory responses through another class of immune cells.

Finding Relief: The Role of Probiotics

However, it’s not all bad news. The study revealed that certain bacteria, like the probiotic group lactobacillus, found in everyday foods like yogurt and cottage cheese, can combat the harmful effects of I3AA in the gut.

These bacteria can regulate immunity and could potentially relieve symptoms in patients with Blastocystis ST7-associated diarrhea by supplementing their diet with foods rich in lactobacilli.

Importance of Identifying Subtypes

According to the researchers, identifying the specific subtypes of Blastocystis involved in related diseases is vital, as each subtype has different impacts on our health.

This could lead to more precise diagnoses and treatments for patients suffering from Blastocystis-related conditions.

The research team is now investigating whether the production of I3AA is unique to ST7 and if it can serve as a disease marker. They are also exploring whether certain strains of lactobacilli can prevent the inflammatory effects of Blastocystis ST7.


This research sheds light on the intricate interactions between the various microorganisms residing in our gut and how a tiny protist can significantly impact our gut health.

Understanding these interactions is pivotal for developing effective treatments and preventative measures.

By implementing dietary changes and leveraging the benefits of probiotics, we might unlock new ways to maintain a healthy gut and protect ourselves from the harmful effects of certain microscopic inhabitants like Blastocystis ST7.

As science continues to delve deeper into the microscopic world within us, we move closer to harmonizing our existence with these minute entities and enhancing our overall well-being.

If you care about gut health, please read studies that green tea could boost gut health and lower blood sugar, and this diet could boost your gut health and weight loss.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about major cause of fatty liver disease, leaky gut, and results showing why a glass of red wine is good for your gut.

The research findings can be found in The EMBO Journal.

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