Women who immigrated to the US from southeast Asia lost much of their gut microbiota diversity, resulting in a microbe community similar to the typical American!
Microbe of the episode
Our gut microbiota, the community of microbes in our gastrointestinal tract, is associated with many aspects of health, including weight. People living in less industrialized places often have a greater diversity of microbes in their gut communities than those living in more industrialized nations.
In this study, when women from Thailand immigrated to the US or were born of such immigrants in the US, their gut microbe communities soon came to resemble those of Americans of European descent, with lower diversity of species. They also tended to gain weight.
However, the diets of these immigrants and children of immigrants didn't resemble the typical American diet as closely as one might expect, suggesting that there may be other factors affecting the gut community of these women.
Vangay P, Johnson AJ, Ward TL, Al-Ghalith GA, Shields-Cutler RR, Hillmann BM, Lucas SK, Beura LK, Thompson EA, Till LM, Batres R, Paw B, Pergament SL, Saenyakul P, Xiong M, Kim AD, Kim G, Masopust D, Martens EC, Angkurawaranon C, McGready R, Kashyap PC, Culhane-Pera KA, Knights D. 2018. US Immigration Westernizes the Human Gut Microbiome. Cell 175:962-972.e10.