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Bacteroidetes are the most prominent gut microbes in much of the world. They are thought to help protect against obesity because they do not digest fat well.

Bacteroidetes dominates in slimmer people.

Bacteroidetes are a phylum of rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacteria that are commonly found in the environment, including in soil, sea water, and in the GI tract and on the skin of animals. Members of this genus are among the so-called good bacteria, because they produce favorable metabolites, including SCFAs, which have been correlated with reducing inflammation. In Trompette et al, C57BL/6J (000664) mice were fed either a standard (0.3%) or high-fiber (4%) diet and intranasally exposed to house dust mite extract to induce allergic airway inflammation. Mice fed the high-fiber diet not only had increased Bacteroidetes populations, but also had increased circulating SCFA levels, and were protected against allergic inflammation in the lung. In contrast, mice maintained on the standard, low-fiber diet and exposed to the dust mite antigen developed an allergic response.

In another study, fecal samples from 4 pairs of human twins discordant for obesity were transferred into germ-free C57BL/6J mice to determine if the twins gut microbes could recapitulate their donors respective phenotype in the recipient mice. After colonization of their gut communities with the human-derived microbes, mice were fed diets low in fat (4%) and high in plant polysaccharides. Interestingly, those that received fecal transfers from obese individuals not only became obese themselves, but also developed insulin resistance and increased adiposity, while the lean microbe recipients remained lean. Moreover, co-housing lean and obese recipients resulted in increased similarity of microbial populations due to the transfer of Bacteroidetes populations from the lean to the obese mice, thereby preventing increased body mass and obesity-associated metabolites. Together, this data highlights the possibility of inoculating obese patients with beneficial, lean-associated microbes in the clinic to treat disease.

In the gastrointestinal microbiota Bacteroidetes have a very broad metabolic potential and are regarded as one of the most stable parts of gastrointestinal microflora.


What does it mean if your Bacteroidetes result is too low?

- Reduced abundance of the Bacteroidetes in some cases is associated with obesity.

- Lower level of Bacteroidetes in the gut microbiota is associated with IBD (irritable bowel disease) patients.

Possible ways to increase Bacteroidetes in the gut: 

Whole grains can promote the growth of Bacteroidetes in humans. Whole grains contain non-digestible carbs that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut microbiota. These changes to the gut flora may improve certain aspects of metabolic health.

More ways to generally improve gut health:

- Eat Lots of Vegetables, Legumes, Beans and Fruit (high in fiber).

- Eat Fermented Foods

- Avoid artificial sweeteners

- Eat prebiotic foods

- Eat a plant-based diet

- Eat foods rich in polyphenols (blueberries, broccoli, dark chocolate, green tea)

What does it mean if your Bacteroidetes result is too high?

Gram-negative species of the Bacteroidetes phylum. Immune-modulating normal gut species. Believed to be involved in microbial balance, barrier integrity, and neuroimmune health.

- High levels may result from reduced digestive capacity or constipation.

- Increase in Bacteroides spp. and Odoribacter spp. seen in animal-based diets.

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