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Hunter-gatherers of Tanzania experience seasonal variation in gut-microbe diversity

a group of members of the Hazda population in Tanzania, around a fire
Jeff Leach
Aug 24 2017
Awards, Fellow, Research, Stanford

Scientists from Stanford and their collaborators have linked a traditional population’s seasonally varying diet to cyclical changes in the number of gut-residing microbial species.

More evidence that our intestinal microbes are profoundly influenced by the foods we eat — or don’t: The gut ecosystems of members of a small group of hunter-gatherers inhabiting Tanzania’s Rift Valley show a strong cyclicality consistent with the population’s seasonally changing diet.

A study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine is the first to look at seasonal variations in the gut-microbial composition, or microbiota, of the Hadza, one of the world’s few remaining traditional hunter-gatherer populations. The research confirms that the Hadza microbiota is more diverse than, and substantially different from, that of industrialized countries’ urban-dwelling denizens.

Co-Author Carlos Gonzalez is a 2014 SGF.