Research has indicated that in human patients who are obese, it may be possible to relieve some symptoms of metabolic disease with a gut microbe transplant along with fibre supplements in their diet. When people got one oral dose of a fecal microbe treatment and added a fibre supplement to their diet every day, after six weeks their insulin sensitivity had improved and there were higher levels of healthy microbes in their guts. Some cases of type 2 diabetes trace back to a lack of sensitivity to insulin in the body, and the resulting dysregulation of blood sugar.
Madsen said the next step will be to do a longer study with more participants in multiple centres to learn how the transplant/fibre combination works and to monitor for changes in medication requirements, weight loss and other indicators. If results continue to show benefit, she said the pills could be available as a potential therapy within five years.
While scientists continue to narrow down which bacteria are the most beneficial for us, Madsen recommends we support the health of our own gut microbiome by eating fewer processed foods and more foods that contain fibre, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.