Blood metabolome predicts gut microbiome α-diversity in humans
Did you know that your gut is its own complex, unique ecosystem? That’s right, your gut is home to billions of microorganisms and bacteria: the “gut microbiome.” And like all ecosystems, diversity is essential. This diversity is impacted by a host of factors: where you live, what you eat, your genetics, to name a few. In fact, your gut microbiome holds an important clue to your healthspan. Not only is it associated with healthy immune function, but tracking the changes in the diversity of your gut microbiome can be a powerful indicator of wellness and an even more powerful predictor of disease.
We conducted a study comparing numerous blood measurements with the microbiomes of hundreds of individuals to better understand the impact of the gut microbiome on our personal wellness. We identified a set of blood metabolites that show strong correlation to the diversity of the gut microbiome—in other words, we showed that profiling blood metabolites can act as a proxy for the state of your gut!
- Measuring the gut microbiome is challenging—we can take stool samples, but those aren’t always representative of what’s actually happening in your gut. This study demonstrated that there is a strong association between small molecules in your blood (called “metabolites”, because they are part of your metabolic system) and the diversity of the gut microbiome.
- Implication: a blood test could provide insights into your gut health, without the messiness of a stool sample!