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10 February 2020

Study to investigate why we are not all equal when it comes to gut comfort

Researchers from King’s have been awarded a grant from food company, Danone Research to investigate whether the type of bacteria in people’s gut determines whether specific foods trigger gut discomfort.

Man suffering from stomach pain

The study titled ‘The Pre-FIBRE Study: Predicting Fibre-Induced Bloating REsponse’ will investigate the impact of different food components on food-induced bloating. They will then investigate if people’s bacteria can predict which food components trigger bloating, paving the way forward in personalised nutrition.

Co-lead researcher, Dr Megan Rossi, said “Bloating is one of the most commonly reported gastrointestinal symptoms, with many people attributing symptoms to select foods. Our goal is to better understand why different foods trigger bloating in different people, and how this can be overcome in order to increase people’s food-related quality of life.”

In a person’s gut there is a collection of microorganisms collectively known as the gut microbiota which plays an important role in their health. It is admitted that today eating plant-based diets rich in fiber is critical to nourish our inner microbiota However, eating more fiber can trigger gut discomfort in some persons and that could be linked to their gut microbiota.

The researchers hope to get a better understanding of why certain foods trigger bloating in some people but not others, and whether the gut microbiota genetic content is involved in this process.

Principal investigator, Professor Kevin Whelan said: “We believe the gut microbiota is crucial to determining which foods cause bloating. Our trial will be the first in the world to explore whether the types of bacteria in your gut impact on which foods you can eat without becoming bloated.” In addition to the funding, scientists from Danone Nutricia Research will provide their expertise on gut microbiota analyses using last generation sequencing tools and cutting-edge computational biology methods.

“Gut-related symptoms affects a significant proportion of the general population and is often triggered by common foods. We are glad to partner with King’s College London to advance our understanding on the link between diet, gut microbiota and health” said Dr Patrick Veiga, Health and Microbiome Director at Danone Nutricia Research.

The project will take two years to complete and the team will begin recruiting participants from March, including via social media @ProfWhelan @TheGutHealthDoc.

Danone is a multinational food and beverage corporation headquartered in Paris, France, with four different product categories: Essential Dairy and Plant-based Products, Waters, Early Life Nutrition, and Advanced Medical Nutrition, and employs over 110,000 people worldwide. Danone Nutricia Research, the Research and Innovation organisation within Danone, is at the heart of Danone’s strategy: innovating to bring health through food to as many people as possible.

Worldwide Danone Nutricia Research builds bridges between science and food according to our company vision “One Planet, One Health”. Our teams of 1,700 R&I employees work from 2 main research centers in France & Netherlands & 6 specialised centers (France, Spain, Russia, USA, Singapore and China) and in 55 Business units. They partner with recognized scientific communities, suppliers and innovators and through these collaborations, create unique consumer experiences and bring health and well-being at every stage in life.