Gut microbial composition depends on different dietary habits just as health depends on microbial metabolism, but the association of microbiota with different diets in human populations has not yet been shown.
Significant differences were found in gut microbiota between European children (EU) and that of children from a rural African village of Burkina Faso, , where the diet is high in fiber content, and is similar to that of early human settlements at the time of the birth of agriculture.
Burkina Faso children showed a significant enrichment in Bacteroidetes and depletion in Firmicutes, and a unique abundance of bacteria from the genus Prevotella and Xylanibacter, completely lacking in the EU children. Enterobacteriaceae (Shigella and Escherichia) were significantly underrepresented in Burkina Faso children.
In addition, we found significantly more short-chain fatty acids in Burkina Faso children.
Gut microbiota might have coevolved with the polysaccharide-rich diet, allowing to maximize energy intake from fibers while also protecting from inflammations and noninfectious colonic diseases.
Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbate, is an essential nutrient for humans, a water-soluble vitamin. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is an essential dietary component.
- Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen (an essential component of connective tissue), L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters, it is also involved in protein metabolism.
- Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E by reducing vitamin E radicals formed when vitamin E scavenges the oxygen radicals.
- Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods.
Approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg a day. At doses above 1 g a day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine.
Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.
Cells accumulate vitamin C. The total body content of vitamin C ranges from 300 mg (at near scurvy) to about 2 g.
- High levels of vitamin C are maintained in cells and tissues, and are highest in leukocytes (white blood cells), eyes, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and brain.
- Relatively low levels of vitamin C are found in extracellular fluids, such as plasma, red blood cells, and saliva.