The consumption of white button (WB) mushrooms can result in shifts in the microbiota in the gut, and improved glucose homeostasis via the induction of intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGN). The findings, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, suggest that better understanding of the connection between mushrooms and gut microbes in mice could pave the way for new diabetes prevention and treatment strategies for people.
Margherita T. Cantorna, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Immunology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and colleagues showed that feeding white button mushrooms to mice changed the composition of gut microbes — microbiota — to produce more short chain fatty acids, specifically propionate from succinate.
“Managing glucose better has implications for diabetes, as well as other metabolic diseases,” said Cantorna.
Normally glucose is provided from the food people eat. Insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Diabetes occurs when either there is not enough insulin or the insulin that is made is not effective, resulting in high blood glucose levels.
Diabetes and pre-diabetes contribute to severe life-threatening diseases including heart disease and stroke.
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The researchers, used two types of mice in the study. One group of mice had microbiota, the other group did not have microbiota and were germ-free mice. The researchers fed the mice about a daily serving size of the mushrooms. For humans, a daily serving size would be about 3 ounces.
“You can compare the mice with the microbiota with the germ-free mice to get an idea of the contributions of the microbiota,” said Cantorna. “There were big differences in the kinds of metabolites we found in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as in the liver and serum, of the animals fed mushrooms that had microbiota than the ones that didn’t.”
According to the researchers, consuming the mushrooms can set off a chain reaction among the gut bacteria, expanding the population of Prevotella, a bacteria that produces propionate and succinate, said Cantorna. These acids can change the expression of genes that are key to the pathway between the brain and the gut that helps manage the production of glucose, or gluconeogenesis.
According to the researchers, the mushrooms, in this case, serve as a prebiotic, which is a substance that feeds beneficial bacteria that are already existing in the gut. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that are introduced into the digestive system.
Beyond the possible beneficial benefits of mushrooms as a prebiotic, Cantorna said that this study also shows more evidence that there is a tight connection between diet and microbiota.
“It’s pretty clear that almost any change you make to the diet, changes the microbiota,” said Cantorna.
Cantorna said that the study was done with lean mice, but they are interested in what the reaction would be in obese mice. Eventually, the team would like to see how this works in obese mice and, eventually, in humans, she added.
For more information log on to https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2018.04.008