Bacteroides fragilis

Deep inside your intestines, there’s a complex microbial ecosystem, which scientists say contains nearly a thousand species of bacteria.

A lot of recent research has shown that the community of gut microbes acts almost like another organ in your body — they’re that crucial. They exert a pronounced effect on the nutrients and energy that get pulled out of food. And the bacteria are thought to play a big role in a slew of health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.

But a study published in Science shows that the bugs don’t have all the power in this symbiotic relationship. The dominant species in the gut are linked to — and potentially controlled by — your eating habits. People who eat more animal protein and fat had gut microbes dominated by Bacteroides bacteria, while high-fiber eaters tended to have more Prevotella bacteria.

Image courtesy of Dennis Kunkel Microscopy and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

(Source: NPR)

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