The researchers collected fecal samples from 23 persons in the Twin Cities who consumed at least one serving of plant-based fermented meals at least five times each week for two years. This excluded dairy ferments. Their fecal microbiomes were compared to those of 24 persons who had never or seldom ingested lacto-fermented vegetables or other fermented foods in the previous two years.
Before commencing the trial, the researchers did a detailed dietary evaluation of the subjects and discovered that both consumers of lacto-fermented foods and non-consumers started from a comparable point in terms of overall diet quality.
They calculated the Healthy Eating Index score, a USDA measure of nutritional health, and discovered that both groups were close to the national average adult score of 58 out of 100. Lacto-fermented vegetable consumers scored somewhat higher (59 out of 100), whereas non-consumers scored slightly lower (55 out of 100).
The Relationship Between Fermented Foods, Butyrate and a Healthy Gut
Researchers discovered potentially probiotic bacteria and fungus generated from lacto-fermented vegetables in the feces of certain people who regularly consume fermented meals. Regular consumption of lacto-fermented vegetables may promote bacteria with the ability to create butyrate, a chemical in the gut renowned for its health benefits.
Lacto-fermented vegetables have a significantly greater effect on some of the functions performed by microorganisms in the gut and on the nutrients that our microbiome uses to perform functions with potentially key effects on health.
People Consuming Fermented Foods Have Great Gut Biodiversity
This is demonstrated by the observation that regular consumers showed a greater diversity of fecal metabolites (small gut nutrients) and greater production of microbial nutrients with known positive effects on health such as acetate and propionate (short chain fatty acids).
“Our findings support existing research showing that fermented foods, in this case, lacto-fermented vegetables, benefit the gut microbiome and metabolome in people consuming a typical Western diet,” said lead author Kylene Guse, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Dakota, formerly with the U of M.
These microbiome-mediated advantages, however, need be tested by collecting repeated snapshots of a person’s microbiome over time and determining if intake can improve particular health conditions in humans.
“Our findings have implications for health prevention strategies based on the healing power of healthy foods,” said Andres Gomez, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science.
“In the future, we need to test a potential positive effect of consuming lacto-fermented vegetables in subjects with specific diseases with a known microbiome connection, such as cancer, obesity or autoimmune disease, among others.”
The team is presently investigating how they might increase community health and scientific awareness about the potential advantages of fermented vegetables and how the gut microbiota plays a vital role in health maintenance. They are also investigating the effect of drinking other fermented foods, notably kombucha, on mental health difficulties, as links between gut microorganisms and brain function emerge.
- Regular consumption of lacto-fermented vegetables has greater effects on the gut metabolome compared with the microbiome – (https:www.cambridge.org/core/journals/gut-microbiome/article/regular-consumption-of-lactofermented-vegetables-has-greater-effects-on-the-gut-metabolome-compared-with-the-microbiome/A6692CAC12EC517CA9545DFDE577C1D4)
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