Gut Microbiota for Health (GMFH) platform interviews GROWTH PI Rene van den Wijngaard about the evolution of the GMFH project

Since its launch in 2012, the Gut Microbiota for Health (GMFH) platform has been committed to sharing knowledge and raising awareness about gut microbiota and its importance for our health, ensuring the information available on the platform is both trustworthy and complete. As the food we eat plays an essential role in maintaining the diversity and proper functioning of our gut microbiota, a focus is on the influence of foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns on human health linked to their effect on the gut microbiota.

While Gut Microbiota News Watch is dedicated to expanding knowledge about gut microbiota’s importance for health among society in general, Gut Microbiota Research & Practice is dedicated to promoting debate among researchers, scientists and healthcare professionals.

From October 2019 Rene van den Wijngaard, Principal Investigator in the GROWTH project and academic supervisor of Naomi is editorial lead for the GMFH publishing team.

The GMFH Editing Team spoke to Rene van den Wijngaard about the evolution of the GMFH project, highlighting the milestones achieved and news to come.

Rene van den Wijngaard:

I think it is important to keep in mind that a lot of clear cut evidence showing a direct link between gut microbiome alterations and diseases/disorders comes from animal studies. In human it is much more difficult to distinguish cause from consequence and most study results merely show correlations between so called ‘dysbiosis’ and a wide range of diseases. Our readers should keep in mind that, although the field is most promising, science has only just begun to address causality in patients. It is also important not to underestimate the complexity of the gut microbiome. Because most studies focus on bacteria only, one may forget that the human gut also harbors yeasts, viruses, protozoa and archaea that may all contribute to health and disease. In science, in order to move forward, we often oversimplify but in the end the bigger picture has to be taken into account as well. This may shift our way of thinking when identifying possible culprits. Last but not least, current research activity is adding another degree of complexity by addressing metabolic activity. In the early days of the ‘microbiome boom’ presence or absence of certain species was regarded enough to presume relevance. Now, metabolomics provides an accurate picture of the microbiomes physiological state, and metabolites are being investigated in relation to host health and disease. This recent development not only shows the forward movement of the gut microbiome field, but also indicates that earlier interpretations should be regarded with caution.

More information on this interview can be found HERE