Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School examined colonic hydrogen sulfide, a toxic substance in the body that resembles rotten eggs in humans in response to animal- and plant-based diet interventions.
Although hydrogen sulfide has long been an important topic of concern for the pathogenesis of many serious diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, and obesity, previous investigations have not been able to link diet information, microbiome characterization, and effective hydrogen sulfide production, according to Alexander Khoruts, MD, a gastroenterologist at M Medical School and M Health Fairview. This is what we have done here.
The study, based on a human cohort, suggests that hydrogen sulfide, produced by the gut microbiota, increases with an animal-based diet. Nevertheless, the findings suggested the existence of gut microbiome enterotypes that respond differently and even paradoxically to different dietary influences.
According to a new study, the following findings were found:
- In the majority of participants, a plant-based diet resulted in a lower hydrogen sulfide production compared to an animal-based (i.e., western) diet.
- As expected, a plant-based diet contained more fiber, while an animal-based diet contained more protein.
- In some individuals, plant-based diets did not lower hydrogen sulfide production and even led to some increases in it.
- Preliminary results suggested the existence of different compositions of gut microbiota (enterotypes) that correlate with differential responsiveness to diet in terms of hydrogen sulfide production.
According to Dr. Levi Teigen, a nutrition researcher in the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan, the study was consistent with the general belief that regular intake of fiber-containing foods is beneficial to gut health. Future identifications of the gut microbiome may help individuals with nutrition choices.