British Gut is coming of age

We are now one year old and already have over 1000 participants! Our call for help with microbiome research from all of you has been heard loud and clear and we really appreciate your participation. This has been a great year for the project and a great step forward showing that our society is committed to furthering science and we wanted to say thank you!

British Gut is a crowd-funded project and the first of its kind in Europe. It started in October 2014 as an offshoot to the American Gut project and aims to create a large repository of microbial DNA that can be accessible to scientists from all over the world. We aim to answer a wide array of scientific hypotheses on how the microbiome interacts with our health and wellbeing. Your samples will be sequenced, which is the process of determining the sequence of your DNA, in order to provide biological information about how our diet and lifestyle influences our microbiome.

What have we achieved in our first year?
Following on from the work by our colleagues at American Gut, we have significantly expanded the pool of participants and have already noticed a higher bacterial diversity in British gut participants compared to US samples. We will be exploring the reasons for this difference and characterising the way we can alter our microbiome to make us healthier. We will also be studying the differences in microbial populations of meat eaters and vegetarians.

Another area of interest is the effect of medications on our microbiome. We know that antibiotics are detrimental to the bacteria in our gut (by decimating its population) but research is starting to show that other medications also affect the microbiome. In particular, we are looking at how the statins and antacid medications interact with our microbes. Although currently unpublished, these findings are promising and may lead to new therapeutic opportunities.

We will keep you updated about future developments in this exciting field.

Once again, thank you for your participation.

British Gut Team