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Research reveals Blautia bacteria's crucial role in gut health and disease protection

A low-fiber Western diet can harm the gut's protective mucus barrier, increasing the risk of inflammation and infection. Researchers at Umeå University discovered that increasing dietary fiber intake led to changes in gut bacteria, highlighting the role of Blautia in protecting the mucus barrier. Published in Nature Communications, their study reveals crucial insights.

The mucus layer shields the intestinal wall from microorganisms, maintaining a healthy distance. However, a Western diet low in fiber alters bacterial composition and mucus secretion, making it penetrable to bacteria, raising infection risks.

In a three-month study, participants increased daily fiber intake by 10 grams. Transplanting their gut bacteria into mice fed a low-fiber diet showed damaged mucus in the control group but preserved mucus in the fiber-increased group.

Blautia levels rose with increased fiber intake, correlating with improved mucus function. Blautia's secreted molecules, like short-chain fatty acids, directly stimulated mucus secretion, enhancing gut health and reducing infection severity, suggesting its protective role in infections.