A low-calorie diet can have a positive effect on the immune system

In addition to the fact that a low-calorie diet can help prevent metabolic diseases, it can also have a positive effect on the immune system. One study has shown that this effect is mediated by a change in the gut microbiome, which slows the deterioration of the immune system in old age.

The gut microbiome is the term used to describe the totality of all intestinal bacteria and microorganisms in the digestive tract. Among other things, it affects the metabolism and immune system of its host.

Approximately 2 billion people worldwide are overweight. Obesity increases the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes, and can lead to inflammation that weakens the immune system through the buildup of certain memory T and B cells. This is a change in the immune system related to the aging process known as immune senescence.

In obese people, the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes can be delayed by a low-calorie diet, which can also positively affect the immune system. However, it is not yet known exactly how the gut microbiome mediates these positive effects and what role it plays in this process. Researchers have now looked at the interactions between low-calorie diets, metabolism, the gut microbiome, and the immune system.

The researchers first looked at how an obese woman’s gut microbiome was affected by a very low-calorie diet of 800 kcal per day for 8 weeks. They transplanted the gut microbiota before and after 8 weeks into germ-free mice to create a gnotobiotic mouse model. In this way, they were able to determine how the diet-shaped gut microbiome affected metabolism and also the immune system.

Fat deposition was reduced and glucose metabolism improved after transplantation of the diet-altered microbiota. Mass cytometry also showed that the levels of specific memory T and B cells were also reduced, indicating that immune senescence was delayed.

These results indicate that the gut microbiome is involved in the positive effects of a low-calorie diet on the immune system and metabolism. However, the researchers note that the study was conducted with the microbiome of a single individual and that more research with more participants will be needed to confirm the results.

Intestine with Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria.

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