Vall d’Hebron seeks health volunteers for a study on microbiota and dietary habits

La composició de la microbiota intestinal és única, com ho són les nostres empremtes dactilars.


The importance of gut microbiota in people’s health is a scientifically proven fact, as is the influence of diet on its composition. Different dietary habits lead to significant differences in the composition of people’s gut microbiota. For this reason, the team led by Dr Chaysavanh Manichanh, head of the Microbiome Research Group at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), is starting a study to assess microbiota composition in healthy individuals in relation to a variety of food groups.

The term microbiota refers to a group of microorganisms that inhabit a specific environment. The highest concentration of microorganisms in the human body is in the intestinal tract. It is affected by both non-modifiable factors, such as type of birth, genetics and age, and modifiable factors, such as dietary habits, medicinal products and lifestyle, among others.

The pilot phase of this study was completed some months ago and now around 1,000 volunteers are needed to answer a very simple questionnaire on their dietary habits and provide a stool sample three time a year.

The effect of diet on microbiotic profile will be assessed from this information.

“The composition of our gut microbiota is as unique as our fingerprints. This is why the more people who join our study, the more representative the results will be,” says Dr Chaysavanh Manichanh.

Who can participate in the study?

Anyone wanting sign up as a healthy volunteer must meet the following requirements:

  • Age between 18 and 75.
  • Any sex.
  • No chronic disease that could affect gut microbiota, such as chronic inflammatory bowel syndrome, intestinal infections, diabetes, and autoimmune disease (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.).
  • No antibiotics in the previous three months (volunteers must report if they haveto take antibiotics during the study).

How does the study work?

  • The study will last for one year.
  • Participants must answer the questionnaires on their dietary habits.
  • They must provide three stool samples. The material for collecting the samples will be sent to the participants’ homes and must be returned by post.
  • There is no need to go to the hospital.

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