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Type 1 Diabetes Risk Linked to Intestinal Viruses

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have discovered that viruses in the intestines may trigger Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that usually affects children. According to a press release from the school, their study found that children with less diverse gut microbiomes were more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, while those with a specific virus in the Circoviridae family were less likely to get it. They also found that those carrying viruses called bacteriophages were more likely to become diabetic.

More and more, scientists are confirming that what’s going on in your gut determines what happens with your overall health, and this study is one more confirmation that gut bacteria appear to influence human health and disease in key ways. It’s already known that an overabundance of certain bacteria has been linked to disease, while other microbes are actively involved in preventing certain diseases — as shown by this new study.

Besides Type 1 diabetes, a number of health conditions and chronic diseases have been linked to the makeup of your microbiome, including depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, brain diseases, autism, and allergies.

Your body houses some 100 trillion bacteria, and about 1 quadrillion viruses (bacteriophages), meaning that, in essence, we're little more than walking microbe colonies, which together determine your health condition. This is why it’s important to do everything possible to keep your gut microbiome in balance. You do this with the foods you eat. To that end, fiber and fermented foods are key components of a healthy diet.

Committing to improving your gut microbiome will also help you develop good bowel habits, experience easier weight loss, reduce your risk of some cancers, and even improve your mood feeling of overall well-being.
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