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Can we become like ruminants?


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In the wake of my recent listening to interviews to Dr Don Layman, which I expanded in other threads, I came across this overly interesting concept which is directly applicable to CR and specifically to protein restriction. It also answered to my question: if ruminants can produce essential amino acids from a nitrogen and carbon substrate, how can gorillas for example, who are not ruminants but big and very strong primates, live off a prevalent diet of foliage?

There have been studies (in lab rats) which show that in a chronically protein-restricted diet, if enough fiber of enough variety is provided, the FGF21 hepatic signal is attenuated, which means that the body does not sense any longer the stress given by protein restriction.

The hypothesis here is that in a state of chronical protein restriction, given a sufficient amount of dietary fiber, some lineages of gut bacteria thrive which can synthetize essential amino acids from a carbon and nitrogen substrate (of course the diet must provide such a substrate, from example from non essential amino acids). This phenomenon of mammals becoming ruminant-like has been studied in the following interesting article. MAybe it has been previously cited in this forum but I do not remember it.


Gut microbiota mediate the FGF21 adaptive stress response to chronic dietary protein-restriction in mice

Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 3838 (2021) Cite this article



Edited by mccoy
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First careful reading of the article: cellulose, but not inulin, impacts the gut microbioma in a PR regimen. So a variety of different fibers would not appear to be needed, whereas the effect is dose-dependent, so a sufficient amount of cellulose must be provided.

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In the following graph, PS is protein sufficient diet, PR is protein restricted diet, with different quantities of cellulose supplementation. 15% cellulose seems to cause a drop in FGF21 concentration similar to a protein-unrestricted diet with zero to 5% cellulose. Strangely, inulin seems to increase the FGF21 signal



Edited by mccoy
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