Do changes in conjugated bile acids reflect improved health status following intervention with food bioactives?
Prof J Lovegrove
Dr K Jackson
Applications accepted all year round
Self-Funded PhD Students Only
Circulating bile acid (CBA) profiles are now considered to play an important role as signaling molecules involved in lipid metabolism, glucose homeostasis and inflammation. Findings from animal studies have indicated that food components such as probiotics, polyphenols and oat β-glucans have the potential to alter CBA via their effects on the human gut microbiota. Furthermore, recent studies have shown oat β-glucans and complex plant food polyphenols similar to those found in apples (such as tannins) may also have the ability to sequester bile acids (BA) in the small intestine leading to either excretion or further transformation into secondary BA by the resident microbiota. Since CBA are rarely measured in human intervention studies, there is currently a lack of direct evidence that foods which can modulate gut microbiota can also alter CBA profiles, and whether this change reflects an improvement in metabolic health outcome measures. This PhD project will use a human dietary randomised controlled tiral to determine the impact of three intervention foods known to alter gut microbiota composition on CBA profile and how these changes relate to cardiometabolic risk markers, both acutely and in the long term. This study will provide unique mechanistic demonstration that three key components of the Mediterranean diet, polyphenols, prebiotics/fibers and probiotic lactic acid bacteria, all of which have potential to modify BA metabolism in the gut may regulate CBA profiles and impact on metabolic health markers (blood lipids and inflammatory markers) following chronic dietary intervention.
BSc (grade 2-1 or 1) or MSc (merit or distinction) in a relevent biological science subject