Gut bacteria can manufacture defences against cancer and inflammatory bowel disease

Feb 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Bacteria naturally present in the human gut could produce substances that help to protect against colon cancer and provide therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.

In a paper published in the journal Microbiology, researchers from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health and from the MTT Agrifood Research Institute in Finland report initial studies showing that bacteria in the human gut convert linoleic acid, a naturally-occurring fat in the diet, into a form called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is absorbed by the gut wall.

There are different types of CLA and not all of them have beneficial effects. The "good" form of CLA is present in dairy foods such as milk and cheese," said Dr John Wallace of the Rowett Research Institute, "but eating lots of dairy foods won't necessarily help our gut health as most of the fats are digested in the small intestine before they get to the large intestine, where most of our gut bacteria are found."

The results of these latest studies showed that several different forms of CLA are produced by gut bacteria. Fortunately, most was of the "good" kind, but Dr Wallace stressed that more extensive studies are needed. One subject produced small amounts of a CLA whose beneficial or otherwise effects are much less clear.

The implications are that, if small quantities of dietary linoleic acid can be delivered to the large intestine, the effects on gut health will be generally beneficial in most people. He added, "The results are of special interest for individuals using anti-obesity treatments that prevent the small intestine from absorbing fats.

This means that those fats - including linoleic acid - will pass into the large intestine and the gut bacteria will produce CLA. It has to be the correct CLA, so it is important to understand how individuals produce different CLA. This must depend on which types of bacteria are present."

More information: The paper, "Differences between human subjects in the composition of th faecal bacterial community and faecal metabolism of linoleic acid" by Dr John Wallace et al is published in the February issue of Microbiology (Vol. 155, part 2, pp. 513-520). mic.sgmjournals.org

Provided by University of Aberdeen

Explore further: Chickens to chili peppers: Scientists search for the first genetic engineers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lifestyle determines gut microbes

Apr 15, 2014

An international team of researchers has for the first time deciphered the intestinal bacteria of present-day hunter-gatherers.

NASA to conduct unprecedented twin experiment

Apr 11, 2014

Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other gets a job as an astronaut, too, but on this occasion he decides to stay home. After a year ...

First look at breast microbiota raises tantalizing questions

Mar 24, 2014

The female breast contains a unique population of microbes relative to the rest of the body, according to the first-ever study of the breast microbiome. That study sought to lay the groundwork for understanding how this bacterial ...

Recommended for you

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

6 hours ago

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fixer
not rated yet Feb 06, 2009
Buteric acid does this too.
How about making them available to the people who need them!
snwboardn
not rated yet Feb 07, 2009
CLA's killing cancer cells is old news, by like 30 years. http://en.wikiped...eic_acid

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...