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Recent study showing possible link between dairy fat and bad bacteria

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  • Recent study showing possible link between dairy fat and bad bacteria

    Hi readers

    I recently came across this article about the effect (on mice mind you) of ingesting dairy fat which raised the bad bacteria in their gut (Dietary-fat-induced taurocholic acid promotes pathobi... [Nature. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI). They used genetically modified mice which were more likely to develop inflammatory bowel diseases (suss to start with) and one in three developed colitis when fed either low-fat diets or meals high in polyunsaturated fats. This doubled to nearly two in three in those fed a diet high in saturated milk fats! The researchers said that saturated milk fats are hard for the body to digest, and it responds by pumping more bile into the gut. This changes the gut environment and leads to a change in the bacteria growing there, especially one bacterium in particular, Bilophila wadsworthia, which thrives in the extra bile produced to break down the fats. It went from being incredibly rare to nearly 6% of all bacteria in the gut in the high-dairy-fat diet.

    I must warn that I don't know the exact type of dairy fat or diet profile (carb/protein/fat ratio) and I would like to know more about the mice before one could extrapolate to humans.

    As I have increased my intake of saturated fat including dairy fat mainly in the forms of cream and butter (All from happy Australian grass-fed cows) I was wondering if any reader has come across any paleo literature/research which differentiates the (possible) effects of the four different types of saturated fat (Palmitic, Lauric, Myristic and Stearic) on human health indicators, including gut bacteria?

  • #2
    I wouldn't let this study scare you away from dairy. Reassurance lies within the abstract:

    This was associated with a pro-inflammatory T helper type 1 (T(H)1) immune response and increased incidence of colitis in genetically susceptible Il10(−/−), but not wild-type mice.
    ...might increase the prevalence of complex immune-mediated diseases like inflammatory bowel disease in genetically susceptible hosts.
    The effect was only seen in the IL-10 deficient mice, so if you're IL-10 deficient I would probably caution against dairy fat. I'm not up on the other research, but don't worry about this study.

    And for information on what an Il-10(-/-) mouse actually is: JAX Mice Database - 002251 B6.129P2-Il10<tm1Cgn>/J
    Last edited by Timthetaco; 07-11-2012, 12:01 PM.


    • #3
      Hey thanks very much for your quick and detailed response. You make good points so I can rest easier! : )