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Dr. Christopher Gardner & Co-Authors Discover Fermented-Food Diet Increases Microbiome Diversity and Lowers Inflammation

Christopher Gardner Headshot

New research from Dr. Christopher Gardner and fellow researchers discover that a 10-week diet high in fermented foods boosts microbiome diversity and improves immune responses.

"In a clinical trial, 36 healthy adults were randomly assigned to a 10-week diet that included either fermented or high-fiber foods. The two diets resulted in different effects on the gut microbiome and the immune system.

Eating foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi and other fermented vegetables, vegetable brine drinks, and kombucha tea led to an increase in overall microbial diversity, with stronger effects from larger servings. “This is a stunning finding,” said Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology. “It provides one of the first examples of how a simple change in diet can reproducibly remodel the microbiota across a cohort of healthy adults.”

In addition, four types of immune cells showed less activation in the fermented-food group. The levels of 19 inflammatory proteins measured in blood samples also decreased. One of these proteins, interleukin 6, has been linked to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and chronic stress."

Dr. Gardner is an outstanding teacher and has been inspiring students in Human Biology for nearly 20 years. He teaches courses on human nutrition, on food and society, and on food and the environment. Christopher also mentors and advises a number of HumBio students in the honors and research programs

Read the full article by Janelle Weaver on Stanford Medicine News Center here.