`We need to fo­cus on spe­cific mi­crobes'

Down to Earth - - HEALTH -

Ruchi Mathur is an en­docri­nol­o­gist and di­rec­tor of the Diabetes Cen­ter, Di­vi­sion of En­docrinol­ogy at Cedars-Si­nai, Los An­ge­les. Her work de­fines the role of spe­cific gut mi­crobes in the de­vel­op­ment of obe­sity and in­sulin re­sis­tance Which ones hold prom­ise in obe­sity man­age­ment—pro­bi­otics, pre­bi­otics, fae­cal-trans­fer or GM-pro­bi­otics? We are al­ready see­ing the ben­e­fit of fae­cal trans­plant in cer­tain re­frac­tory diseases. The ul­ti­mate goal would be to understand the role of mi­crobes both in­di­vid­u­ally and in con­cert, and be able to ma­nip­u­late them in a way to achieve op­ti­mal health. How can mi­crobes in our gut de­liver ther­a­pies? We are just be­gin­ning to understand the im­por­tance of our re­la­tion­ship with our mi­cro­biota. We are also just re­al­is­ing how we as hosts in­flu­ence them (through what we eat, for ex­am­ple), and how they in­flu­ence our health and well be­ing. To make mat­ters more com­plex, they also ex­ert in­flu­ences over each other. It's very dif­fi­cult to place at­tributes on one or­gan­ism when their in­ter­ac­tions are so di­verse and com­plex. De­spite con­sum­ing fer­mented foods and pro­bi­otics such as yo­gurt, In­dia has be­come the hotspot for lifestylere­lated disorders. Why? In­di­ans have moved from an agri­cul­tural so­ci­ety to a mod­ern so­ci­ety com­plete with less ac­tiv­ity, more com­puter screens and more fast food. Changes in the qual­ity and quan­tity of food eaten by the av­er­age In­dian needs to be probed. This has changed the gut pop­u­la­tion of mi­crobes as well.

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