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20 - 09 - 2016

A high fat diet alters the microbiota and weakens the small intestine

The bacteria in our gut, also called microbiota, has been extensively studied since the genomic tools to do so are available. A study published by a INSERM/Pasteur Institute team shows the effects of a month long high fat diet on the small intestines of mice. After one month, not only did the composition of the bacterial flora completely change but massive concentrations of bacteria seem to stay in close contact with the intestinal wall (epithelium), which normally prevented by the presence of a protective mucus.

Looking more closely, the researchers found that the mucus layer had become very thin and had lost much of its antimicrobial properties. The health implications are under study. However, reassuringly, a switch back to a balanced diet set everything back in order within a month.