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What Your Gut Type Says About You

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I have been reading a lot about blood types.  Ever heard of the Blood Type Diet?   Well, for some reason I have been a little infatuated with the idea of each of us following a certain blood type constitution and have been researching the idea.  Through my ‘studies’ I came to the conclusion that I must be an O type for the following reasons: I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive as a vegetarian and feel best on a high protein diet, I am quite active and do much better with intense exercise and activity.  In addition, over the past year, I have cut close to all grains out of my diet and ironically, my favorite supplement has been tyrosine (all things that go hand in hand with a Type O Blood Type from a personality and nutritional standpoint).   Well, I splurged and finally tested my blood type (yes, I know I should probably already know this), & wouldn’t you know it… I was indeed Type O+.  I am almost exactly what the blood type diet would classify me as, as far as personality, diet and lifestyle.  Coincidence or not, it makes a lot of sense.  For more information on the blood type diet, check out D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, a website dedicated to providing nutritional support and guidance for those following a blood type diet.

On a similar note, recently a group of researchers observed that just like blood types are a defining aspect of who we are as individuals, so too are the ecosystems of our guts.  Published in the most recent version of Nature, researchers from the Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract (MetaHIT) Consortium discovered that humans fall into 3 basic categories of gut flora, or Enterotypes.  Researchers took fecal samples from a diverse group of people; ranging in age, body mass index, nationality and gender and tested the makeup of their gut flora.  The results showed, that just like we all have a specific blood type, we too have a specific intestinal ecosystem; one of three observed in the study.  There is much we still do not know about this bacteria & we are only beginning to understand and observe the relationship that our bodies have with different microbiota.  As stated in the NYTimes Online, there are about 100 trillion microbes in the human body, and our bodies are made up of about 10 trillion cells (Zimmer, 2011).  I don’t know about you, but 100 trillion is a pretty crazy number!  It seems these microbes are going to tell much more of a story about our living bodies that we initially thought.  They could unlock the key to truly understanding how our bodies react to different environments, lifestyles, emotions, foods and disease.

So what does this mean?  Well, we aren’t really sure.  Of the little we do know about our symbiotic relationship with gut bacteria it seems to be beneficial and supplementing with both pre and pro-biotics has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of many disorders.  This new data opens up many new areas of research and discussion.  In the future, we may just realize that our enterotype tells a lot about our individual tendency toward disease & how we treat it, as well as form a basis for certain constitutional types in general.  Entero-typing could be the new geno-typing & hey, you never know, the next big thing may just be the ‘Enterotype Diet’… & what your gut flora says about you!

Till next time…

~be well~

Erin

Sources:

Arumugam, M., Batto, J.M., Bertalan, M., Borruel, N., & Casselas, F. (2011). Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature, 473, 174-180.

Zimmer, C. (2011, April 20). Gut bacteria divide people into 3 types, scientists report. NYTimes.com, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/science/21gut.html

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