March 1st, 2021

There is quality emerging evidence that the microbiome of our intestines are influenced not only by our lifestyle choices but also by our hardwired genes. This is a profound new revelation for me in the understanding of our friendly bacteria

This likely explains why certain genetic groups are more likely to develop inflammatory bowel diseases than other groups. Couple the hardwired gene risk with modern poor quality lifestyle choices and we have a mismatch.

In a new study in the Journal Nature Genetics, we see the following: the gut microbiome composition from 18,340 individuals showed high variability across cohorts.

A genome-wide association study of host genetic variation regarding microbial taxa showed an age-dependent association with Bifidobacterium abundance. A phenome-wide association study and Mendelian randomization identified enrichment of microbiome trait loci in the metabolic, nutrition and environment domains and suggested the microbiome might have causal effects in ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. They noted two genes that affect our gut microbiome: the lactase gene (LCT), which influences the abundance of lactose-digesting Bifidobacteria, and the fucosyl transferase (FUT2) gene, which determines the abundance of Ruminococcus torques. (Kurilshikov et. al. 2021)

If you have mutations in these genes, you likely have
alterations in your microbiome that are disadvantageous. As always, we are learning that we are a combination of hard wired genes and environmental epigenetic inputs. Control what you can control, your diet.

Dr. M

Kurilshikov Nature Genetics