Gastrointestinal modulation using omega-3 and probiotic strategies and its effect on cardio-metabolic health in obese and non-obese populations

   School of Psychology and Sport Science

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Research Group: Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences -

Proposed supervisory team: Dr Justin Roberts () Dr Lee Smith ()

Theme: Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Probiotics and Gut Health

Summary of the research project

It is known that the bacteria of the intestinal tract differs between obese and non-obese cohorts (Dibaise et al., 2008). It has been proposed that such differences may explain transient gut wall permeability leading to conditions associated with increased circulating toxins. Additionally, with increased visceral fat stores in obese conditions (Depres et al., 2008), there would appear to be a connection between gut health and hormonal ‘messaging’ from adipose tissue. Increased levels of inflammatory hormones (e.g., resistin) have been demonstrated to result in higher concentrations of circulating low density lipoprotein (Steppan et al., 2001; Steppan et al., 2002; Al-Daghri et al., 2005) cholesterol (LDL-c), so called ‘bad cholesterol’. Levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ have been implicated alongside increased cardio-metabolic health risks.

It is proposed that nutritional strategies to support the gastrointestinal bacteria and provide competitive exclusion of endotoxins may alter such ‘messaging’, leading to a reduction in cardio-metabolic risk either with or without exercise. The use of omega-3 fatty acids combined with probiotic strains may offer practical interventions to support gastrointestinal health (Das, 2002). Improvements in cardio-metabolic risk offer considerable economic and societal impact considering evident obesity trends in the United Kingdom.
Resources required: the programme would require access to exercise physiology laboratory space for standard exercise testing/training, as well as access to the saliva laboratory for storage of plasma samples. Additionally, access to the main analytical laboratories would be required for assessment of endotoxin assays, cholesterol assessment and resistin assessment using enzyme-linked immunoabsorbant assay (ELISA).

The project would require sponsorship of nutritional supplementation throughout the research programme (omega-3 fatty acid, probiotic formulas), and we have an excellent working collaboration with a leading clinical nutrition company. Purchase of, and training in, assay use would be required, if applicable.

Where you’ll study:

Cambridge -

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Sport and Exercise Sciences MPhil, PhD. In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

Food Sciences (15) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded.
Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available: View Website

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