Middle Eastern Diet Linked To Improved Microbiome in Liver Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Turkish Food” by Garry Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Virginia Commonwealth University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Altered gut microbiota composition can occur due to diseases and due to changes in the dietary practices. The interaction between these two and their linkage with clinical outcomes in liver diseases, such as cirrhosis is not clear from an international standpoint.

In this study we enrolled healthy subjects, and patients with cirrhosis who were either early or advanced in their process from USA and Turkey. We found that the Turkish subjects, who followed a Middle-eastern diet rich in vegetables and fermented milk products, had high microbial diversity, which was in turn associated with lower hospitalizations over 3 months. There was also an additional beneficial effect of coffee and tea intake. This protection persisted even when the clinical factors were accounted for.

Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D. Associate Professor Department of Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Bajaj

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

 Response: Diet is a major influence on microbiota and the changes in microbial diversity that occur as a result of this can potentially be a protective mechanism. Also interpreting human clinical microbiota data in cirrhosis and other conditions, it is very important to control for the dietary intake, since it alone has the potential to overwhelm any underlying disease-related changes.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further research of the effects of changing Western diets to a more middle eastern diet  rich is vegetables and fermented milk products should be undertaken in cirrhosis. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Vive la difference!  We should celebrate differences in ethnicity, dietary and cultural practices in our subjects and more multi-national studies are needed. Analyses and interpretation of study results and comparisons between groups should be performed in light of these differences to avoid confounding. This research was supported by grants from the US Veterans Affairs and Turkish Association for the Study of the Liver. 


The International Liver Congress 2018 and 

Hepatology 2018 Jan 19. doi: 10.1002/hep.29791. [Epub ahead of print]

Diet Affects Gut Microbiota and Modulates Hospitalization Risk Differentially In an International Cirrhosis Cohort.

Bajaj JS1, Idilman R2, Mabudian L3, Hood M3, Fagan A1, Turan D2, White MB1, Karakaya F2, Wang J3, Atalay R4, Hylemon PB5, Gavis EA1, Brown R3, Thacker LR6, Acharya C1, Heuman DM1, Sikaroodi M3, Gillevet PM3.

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