| diet

Gut Health: You Are What You Eat

Modulating Immunity and Infection

A study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Cleveland Clinic warns of the link between a western diet and the immune system. The research published in Cell Host & Microbe states that foods high in fat and sugar negatively affect the Paneth cells.

Study highlights:

  • Paneth cells in the intestine modulate immunity and infection
  • Conditions such as Crohn’s disease are caused by genetic mutations and environmental triggers that cause Paneth cells to dysfunction
  • A western diet—high in sugar and fat—can also cause that dysfunction of Paneth cells
  • Obesity wasn’t the problem, diet was the problem
  • Mice fed a western diet for as little as 4 weeks showed Paneth cell dysfunction

The study concluded, “Western diet consumption in conjunction with Clostridium spp. increased the secondary bile acid deoxycholic acid levels in the ileum, which in turn inhibited Paneth cell function. The process required excess signaling of both farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and type I interferon within intestinal epithelial cells. Our findings provide a mechanistic link between poor diet and inhibition of gut innate immunity and uncover an effect of FXR activation in gut inflammation.”


Access the journal article.

Read the press release.