Monday August 26, 2019

Diets Rich in Fat can increase the Risk of a Major Eye Disease, warns a Study

Bacteria in your intestines may play an important role in determining if you will develop blinding wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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Representational image. Pixabay

Toronto, November 16, 2016: Diets rich in fat can bring such changes in the bacterial communities of your gut that they can eventually increase risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or aggravate the blinding disease, warns a study.

Bacteria in your intestines may play an important role in determining if you will develop blinding wet AMD – late form of the disease, said the study published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

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“Our study suggests that diets rich in fat alter the gut microbiome in a way that aggravates wet AMD, a vascular disease of the aging eye,” said lead researcher Przemyslaw (Mike) Sapieha, Professor at University of Montreal in Canada.

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“Influencing the types of microbes that reside in your gut either through diet or by other means may thus affect the chances of developing AMD and progression of this blinding disease,” Sapieha noted.

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AMD is characterised by a heightened immune response, sizeable deposits of fat debris at the back of the eye called soft drusen (early AMD), destruction of nerve cells, and growth of new diseased blood vessels (wet AMD, late form).

While only accounting for roughly 10 per cent of cases of AMD, wet AMD is the primary form leading to blindness.

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Current treatments becomes less effective with time. It is therefore important to find new ways to prevent the onset of this debilitating disease.

The researchers found that changes in the bacterial communities of your gut, such as those brought on by a diet rich in fat, can cause long-term low-grade inflammation in your whole body and eventually promote diseases such as wet AMD. (IANS)

Next Story

An Apple Contains 100 Million Bacteria! Are These Microbes Good for You?

The majority of the bacteria are in the seeds, with the flesh accounting for most of the remainder

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apple, bacteria
An apple a day is 100mn bacteria for your gut. Wikimedia Commons

Next time when you eat an apple for extra fibre, flavonoids and flavour, remember that you are also gulping down about 100 million bacteria, and whether these are good or bad microbes may depend on how the apples were grown.

Most microbes are inside the apple but the strains depend on which bits you eat, and whether you go organic, say researchers, adding that organically-grown apples harbour more diverse and balanced bacteria which make them healthier and tastier than conventional apples.

“The bacteria, fungi and viruses in our food transiently colonise our gut. Cooking kills most of these, so raw fruit and vegetable are particularly important sources of gut microbes,” said Professor Gabriele Berg from Graz University of Technology in Austria.

apple, bacteria
The majority of the bacteria are in the seeds, with the flesh accounting for most of the remainder. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, compared the bacteria in conventional store-bought apples with those in visually-matched fresh organic ones. Stem, peel, flesh, seeds and calyx — the straggly bit at the bottom where the flower used to be — were analyzed separately. Overall, the organic and conventional apples were occupied by similar numbers of bacteria.

“Putting together the average for each apple component, we estimate a typical 240-gram apple contains roughly 100 million bacteria,” Berg informed. The majority of the bacteria are in the seeds, with the flesh accounting for most of the remainder. So, if you discard the core, your intake falls to nearer 10 million.

The question is: Are these bacteria good for you? “Freshly harvested, organically-managed apples harbour a significantly more diverse, more even and distinct bacterial community, compared to conventional ones,” explained Berg. Specific groups of bacteria known for health-affecting potential also weighed in favour of organic apples.

apple, bacteria
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, compared the bacteria in conventional store-bought apples with those in visually-matched fresh organic ones. Wikimedia Commons

“Escherichia-Shigella — a group of bacteria that includes known pathogens — was found in most of the conventional apple samples, but none from organic apples. For beneficial Lactobacilli — of probiotic fame — the reverse was true,” said the researchers.

ALSO READ: To Protect Grains from Drought, Australia Searches for Climate-Proof Crops

Methylobacterium, known to enhance the biosynthesis of strawberry flavour compounds, was significantly more abundant in organic apples, “especially on peel and flesh samples, which in general had a more diverse microbiota than seeds, stem or calyx”, said the researchers.

The results also mirrored findings on fungal communities in apples. “Our results agree remarkably with a recent study on the apple fruit associated fungal community, which revealed specificity of fungal varieties to different tissues and management practices,” said Birgit Wasserman, lead author of the study. (IANS)