Fermented Foods Win Gold in Stanford Gut Study
The creators of HARAI developed their organic supplement in the belief that an acid-tolerant digestive supplement produced from fermented plant extracts would offer significant support to the human digestive system. A recent clinical study by Stanford researchers lends compelling evidence to this hypothesis, proving that fermented foods improve the diversity of gut flora while reducing inflammation. ¹
The report, published in the July, 2021, issue of Cell Press, studied the effects of two distinct dietary “interventions”, one high in natural plant fiber, the other rich in fermented foods.² While both food categories are often cited as deficient in modern diets, there has been little scientific research targeting how each category affects the gut microbiome, making this study particularly relevant.
In it researchers monitored two groups of eighteen individuals, with each group following one of the two modified diets. Participants were all of good health, and were selected across both genders, all ages and races, and no particular body type. Individuals with very high BMIs (over 40), digestive disorders, and health issues that might skew results were excluded.
The effects of these modified dietary regimens on the subjects were observed over a period of ten weeks (with additional weeks for control and observation at both the beginning and end of study.) Laboratory analysis was performed daily on stool and blood samples. Metabolic function, microbial counts and typing, and immune profiling were among the many analyses undertaken.
The key observations were:
- The high-in-plant-fiber diet increased enzyme production of certain types of gut bacteria.
- The high-in-fermented-foods diet “steadily increased microbiota diversity” in the gut.
- The high-in-fermented-foods diet also correlated with reduced gut inflammation.
No experiment answers all questions, and while the rigor of this study makes its conclusions sound, the researchers noted that the high fiber diet might also improve overall microbiome diversity, if given more time. It also stated that the fermented food diet seemed to continue to improve microbiota diversity even as the selection of fermented food types was left to the subjects themselves during the final weeks of the trial.
Perhaps most importantly, this research demonstrates that dietary adjustments can make a significant difference in the diversity and health of the gut microbiome. The study summary stated: “Fermented foods may be valuable in countering the decreased microbiome diversity and increased inflammation pervasive in industrialized society.”
¹ https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00754-6 “Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status” Aug. 2021
² The fermented foods named in the study included yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kombucha and kimchi.