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This diet’s for you: personalized nutrition to improve your health

You may use the phrase “gut reaction” to describe what your instincts tell you about a particular situation. But it turns out that your gut offers much more than an emotional reaction – it processes food you eat in a way that is unique to you. For example, some people may feel energized and lose weight from eating a high protein and low carbohydrate diet, while others might not get the same benefit from eating the same foods. This occurs because each of us has a unique community of bacteria inside our digestive system, known as the gut microbiome. As a result, we each process the foods we eat differently.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine are exploring ways to analyze a person’s gut microbiome and then design a diet to maintain a person’s health and avoid the development of disease.

“We have long wondered why one diet works for one person, but not another. Now, we are beginning to understand that how a person processes food depends upon that individual’s gut microbiome, immune system and the community of bacteria in the gut. This is where the concept of designing individualized diets was developed. Given these multiple factors, we are exploring ways to develop customized diets that will maintain wellness and prevent the development of disease,” explains Heidi Nelson, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome Program.

As part of the effort to explore ways individualized diets can be used to improve health, Mayo Clinic is working with DayTwo Inc. to explore the use of microbiome data to advance individualized diet and wellness for patients.

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