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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Immigration to U.S. Lowers Healthy Gut Bacteria

People in developing nations have much greater diversity in gut bacteria than Americans, but a University of Minnesota study of U.S. immigrants has found that six to nine months after moving to the U.S. and eating a Western diet, the gut bacteria of those from countries with predominantly non-Western diets changed to match gut bacteria typical of a Western diet, while their gut bacteria became less diverse and less healthy. These effects increased with the duration of U.S. residence and were compounded across generations. The more “Westernized” a woman’s microbiome, the greater her risk of obesity.


This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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