Brainstorm a list of behaviors that an individual could engage in that could cause changes to a gut microbial community. For each behavior you list, discuss how that behavior could change the microbial community, and what potential health impacts (beneficial, detrimental, neutral) that change could be for the individual’s health.
Eating yogurt: This behavior delivers lactic acid bacteria to the gastrointestinal tract. This modifies the community by inhibiting lipopolysaccharide production and increasing the tight junctions in gut epithelial cells. Benefits: higher concentration of this bacteria in the gut is linked to lower prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and low-grade peripheral inflammation.
Li Wen, Andrew Duffy, Factors Influencing the Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Type 2 Diabetes, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 7, July 2017, Pages 1468S–1475S,
Social Behavior: There is a symbiotic relationship between the host and gut microbes. Gut microbes help the host in development, fecundity, metabolism, immunity, and mental health. Since hundreds of microbial species live in the gut, there are multiple physiological roles gut microbes play that is still unknown to us. This has created a new perspective known as the gestalt perspective and Gestaltomics where the influence on the biome is looked at with relation to how it affects human physiological, behavioral, and cognitive processes. The three parameters by which social behavior was analyzed were due to stresses in the hosts’ social life, differences between solitary and social life; and effects caused by social structure. These effects could be beneficial or detrimental based on which parameter or microbial species is being analyzed.
Münger E, Montiel-Castro AJ, Langhans W, Pacheco-López G. Reciprocal Interactions Between Gut Microbiota and Host Social Behavior. Front Integr Neurosci. 2018;12:21. Published 2018 Jun 12. doi:10.3389/fnint.2018.00021