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Diet and the Microbiome

The gut microbiome — a teeming mass of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea and protozoans that live in our lower gastrointestinal tracts — has captured the attention of health-conscious consumers. Through controlled studies with mice, scientists have learned that by manipulating the microbiome, we can induce weight loss, affect pain perception and decrease hormonal responses to stress, among other fascinating outcomes. We know that the microbiome interacts with the immune, neuroendocrine and cardiovascular systems to affect health.

More Microbiome Studies at Oregon State

Chemicals produced by microbes in our intestines may affect the brain. In a study with laboratory mice, Kathy Magnusson and her colleagues have demonstrated that adaptability, short-term memory and learning for long-term memory are related to the microbiome and what we eat.

Gut Check

Thousands of species of bacteria, viruses and fungi live on and in our bodies. Microorganisms teem in every pore and crevice, from mouth to stomach to intestines to colon.