"Nutritional Modulation of Gut Microbiota for Improving Human Metabolic Health"
Nutrition is a significant environmental factor that could move individuals between healthy and diseased states of human health phenotypes. Such nutritional modulation of our health phenotypes may be mediated by nutrient molecules' interactions with both our genome and the gut microbiome. In a series of mechanistic clinical trials, we showed that integrating adequate nutrition for the gut microbiome into the intervention diet for a long enough time shifted the microbiota structure to a new space and concurrently moved obese and diabetic patients from a diseased state space into a healthier space. Transplantation of pre-intervention and post-intervention gut microbiome from the same patients to germ-free mice showed that the microbiome-targeted-nutrition modulated gut microbiota causatively contributed to the transition of patients from a diseased state space into a healthier state space. A reference-free, ecologically meaningful analysis of bacterial genomes assembled from metagenomic datasets showed that the trajectories of patient health phenotypes were significantly associated with the varying positions of patients in the state space of gut microbiome. Identification of key bacterial genomes that were responders to the microbiome-targeted nutrition intervention allowed the establishment of a prototype model to predict how nutritional shifting of the gut microbiota could move the hosts into a healthier state space. Standardized and quality-controlled clinical and microbiome analytical protocols will accumulate ecologically and physiologically meaningful data to facilitate the assessment, monitoring, and prediction of health-relevant human responses to nutrition and diet, thus opening a new avenue of personalized, predictive, and preventive management of human health.
Liping Zhao is the Eveleigh-Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology and Director of Center for Nutrition, Microbiome and Health at Rutgers University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research (CIFAR). Dr. Zhao currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Center for Microbiome Research and Education of American Gastroenterology Association (AGA). He applies metagenomics-metabolomics integrated tools and implements microbiome-targeted dietary interventions for systems understanding and predictive manipulations of gut microbiota to improve human metabolic health.