Omega-3s improve microbiome diversity

The relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the composition of gut microbiome has been studied in a large cohort of middle-aged and elderly women.

A University of Nottingham research team used data from a cohort of 876 volunteer women, examining their food intake of omega-3 fatty acids using food frequency questionnaires. They found this relationship was strongly associated with the diversity and number of species of healthy bacteria in the gut, independent of fibre and probiotics.

Researchers found that women who had a higher intake of omega-3 and a higher omega-3 index had a more diverse gut microbiome.

A healthy and diverse gut microbiome is associated with a lower risk of disease including gut conditions such as colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The team said: “We believe that some of the good effects of omega-3 in the gut may be due to the fact that omega-3 induces bacteria to produce [a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) in the gut].”

NCG has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the gut of animals.

 

FX Medicine Spring 2017 Vol 87.