It is largely recognized that a high-salt diet can lead to hypertension. A new randomized controlled trial reports that, particularly in females with untreated hypertension, reducing salt intake to recommended levels is linked to decreased blood pressure, more compliant blood vessels and increased serum levels of short-chain fatty acids.

Fermented foods are a known source of lactic acid bacteria. A high-throughput sequencing analysis of food and human metagenomes proves that fermented foods are a source of lactic acid bacteria for the gut microbiome, and that abundance is shaped by both age and lifestyle.

While initial studies focused on characterizing the gut microbiome, there has been a shift in the field towards mechanistic research focusing on microbiome influence on host phenotype. Here, science and medical writer Andreu Prados updates major breakthroughs in the field in 2019.