Precision Nutrition- Impact of Durian Consumption on Human Microbiome and Metabolome (DURIOME)
Updated: Jan 9
Tens of trillions of micro-organisms, primarily bacteria, reside in the human body and collectively constitute the 'human microbiome'. The human microbiome plays important roles in the maintenance of human health and prevention of diseases.
The largest concentration of the human microbiome is found in the gut which currently attracts the most attention in the research world. Evidence suggests that gut microbiota can influence human health either directly or indirectly and that changes in the composition and function of gut microbiota may increase the prevalence of pro-inflammatory conditions in many metabolic syndromes, including obesity, liver diseases, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and others. However, the functions and dynamics of the human microbiome during healthy phase and the progression of diseases states are only partially understood.
Figure 1 Proposed workflow for the integrative analysis of longitudinal gut microbiome and metabolomic data of cancer patients.
Functional foods are dietary bioactive compounds, which, besides providing nutrients and energy, beneficially modulate the metabolic functions towards enhancing the physiological response and/or reducing the risk of diseases. The functional foods not only influence the metabolic functions in our bodies, but also play a crucial role in the balancing of gut microbiota in human gastrointestinal tract and therefore influencing diverse aspects of metabolic and immune functions. This is where BD-MED institute would like to play its part in studying local plant food sources which may be functional foods and contribute to precision nutrition which can help with disease prevention in the future.
The team will embark this journey with the most popular and favourite fruit durian (Durio zibethinus) the “King of Fruits”. Durian is considered to have cholesterol-lowering and low glycaemic index (GI) properties due to its high fibre content. The high fibre of durian pulp slows down the conversion of the carbohydrate to glucose which results in a GI lower than other tropical fruits like pineapple, watermelon and papaya. Although, preliminary research on durian consumption in animal models suggests anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects, the health benefits of durian consumption remain controversial due to lack of in-depth clinical research. Particularly, there is currently no research on the impact of durian consumption on the alterations in human gut microbiome.
Figure 2. The DURIOME project
BD-MED will be conducting this durian dietary intervention on different cohorts: healthy population, and metabolic syndrome disease cohorts. Cohorts will be asked to consume durian daily for few weeks and stool and blood samples will be collected from them to be analysed by the team further. The samples collected from these cohorts will help the team to determine if there are any impacts on the gut microbiome and metabolome (e.g. Blood glucose) of study subjects.
The data derived from these interventions will help us understand and prove if local foods such as durian could be consumed as functional foods to help maintain health and prevent the development of metabolic disorders.
How we envision the microbiome study can eventually benefit cancer patients
Aim 1: To integrate gut microbiota and host metabolome studies of cancers survivors for predicting the risk of bloodstream infection and survival of cancer patients.
Hypothesis: The integrative analysis of longitudinal gut microbiome and metabolomic data of cancer patients can be used to identify the new biomarkers in predicting the risk of bloodstream infection and survival of cancer patients.
Aim 2: To study the impact of diet-microbiome interactions in cancer treatment responses to improve cancer survival outcomes.
Hypothesis: Dietary intervention study of functional foods significantly modulating gut microbiome community and function to improve the treatment outcomes in cancer patients during the course of cancer treatment(s).
Figure 3. Proposed workflow the study of the impact of diet-microbiome interactions in cancer treatment responses to improve cancer outcomes.
Dr. Khwanta Kaewnarin
Research Fellow, BD-MED
National Cancer Centre Singapore
Ms. Siva Ranjini
Research Officer, BD-MED
National Cancer Centre Singapore