Does Your Microbiome Determine Your Body Type?

Does Your Microbiome Determine Your Body Type?

In This Article

Gut Bacteria and Health

A new study published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, discovered that gut bacteria may have unique metabolic types that may function differently in individual body types. (1)

The study suggests that future treatments may tailor microbe types to unique individual body types and body type-specific diets to elicit a more effective and precise therapy.

After typing the microbiome of a group of overweight individuals, the researchers discovered that overweight individuals who had a low gut microbial diversity type responded better to a weight loss diet compared to overweight individuals who had a more diverse and populous microbiome type. (1)

In addition, the low microbial diversity type saw a reduction to other health risk factors from the weight loss diet that was not present in the group with greater microbial diversity. This suggests that the body type of the individual, the diet prescribed and the metabolic type of the microbes must all be in alignment for optimal results. 

Jens Nielsen, professor of systems biology at Chalmers University of Technology and head of the research team said, “This method allows us to begin identifying each individual bacteria type’s metabolism and thus get a handle on the basic mechanisms in human metabolism.”

While the application of this research is in the early stages, Nielsen believes that this technology could:

  • Determine which overweight patients are at greater risk for complications such as cardiovascular concerns later in life.
  • Design specific diets that work synergistically with the type of gut microbiome and body type of the individual.
  • Introduce microbes or probiotics to match and boost the metabolism of patients whose metabolism do not work properly.
  • Create probiotics that match individual types and make permanent changes to the gut microbiome and thus overall health.

New Research on Ayurvedic Body Typing

New studies have found that the tridosha theory of Ayurveda – which describes vata as motion, pitta as metabolism and kapha as structure – is backed by phenotypic groupings. Researchers have identified HLA gene alleles that suggest that there is a genetic rationale for the 3 primary body types in Ayurveda. (2)

Since the genetically-based Ayurvedic types represent aspects of nature, vata = winter, kapha = spring and pitta = summer, and we know that soil and plant microbes change dramatically each season (3), it is reasonable to assume that the genome of the changing soil microbes and plants (3) would be reflected genetically in the constitutional differences in each individual.

While science has yet to prove this exact link, the idea that microbes have different types, work better with certain body types and respond better to certain diets may be a small, but important, step for modern science. This is yet another brick in the foundation of Ayurveda being proved by modern science!

Imagine if scientists studied Ayurveda first, instead of foraging for these amazing discoveries thousands of years down the road. Imagine if they had a blueprint of nature’s intelligence to read from while determining which research step to take next. We are certainly living in exciting times!



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Dr. John

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