Hot Springs & Gut Microbiota: The Influence on Bifidobacterium bifidum

Hot Springs Gut Microbiota The Influence on Bifidobacterium bifidum 2

Hot springs, renowned for their therapeutic benefits, have long been harnessed for various purposes, from health treatments to leisure activities. In Japan, where hot springs hold cultural significance, ten distinct types of therapeutic springs, or spa types, are traditionally believed to offer different health benefits. 

A recent study, led by Shunsuke Managi from Kyushu University, Japan, and published in Scientific Reports (By Nature), examined the impact of bathing in different spa types on the gut microbiota of healthy individuals. Focusing particularly on the prevalence of Bifidobacterium bifidum, a key bacterium associated with gut health, the study aimed to elucidate changes in gut microbiota following immersion in various hot springs.

Conducting the study in Beppu's hot springs, encompassing simple, chloride, bicarbonate, sulfur, and sulfate types, researchers enlisted 136 healthy Japanese adults residing in the Kyushu area. Over a span of seven days, participants bathed in the same hot spring, and fecal samples were collected both before and after the bathing period. Analysis of the gut microbiota's relative abundance was conducted using 16S rRNA sequencing.

The findings showed significant increases in the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium bifidum following seven consecutive days of bathing in the bicarbonate spring.

Moreover, notable increases in other gut microbiota were observed after immersion in simple, bicarbonate, and sulfur springs. These outcomes suggest that bathing in diverse hot springs may exert varying effects on the gut microbiota of healthy individuals.

This study is a valuable contribution to the intricate relationship between hot spring bathing and gut microbiota composition, shedding light on the potential health implications associated with different spa types.

As research in this domain progresses, a deeper understanding of the therapeutic properties of hot springs and their impact on human health is poised to emerge, offering promising avenues for future exploration and application in wellness practices.

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