Our gut contains a bunch of bacteria called gut flora or microbiota. These bacteria, which live inside humans’ and animals’ digestive systems, are helpful when they’re balanced and assist with digesting food, keeping a healthy weight, and preventing certain health problems.
That said, cigarettes are known to harm our gut flora. Since some people think that vaping is also harmful like smoking, a recent study wanted to see if it hurts our microbiome too.
A recent study involved mice that were given a high-fat diet, and then they were split into two groups. One group was exposed to vaping, and the other wasn’t. After that, the researchers took samples to check for inflammation, fat levels, and the variety of microbes in both groups.
When the information was gathered and analyzed, it showed that the high-fat diet (HFD) affected the microbes in the mice’s bodies, but exposure to vapor didn’t.
The researchers explained that even though vaping caused higher levels of certain inflammation markers and showed some level of harm, it didn’t add any extra effects to the changes caused by the high-fat diet on the microbes in the gut.
Similarly, a study from 2021 by scientists at Newcastle University looked at the gut bacteria of smokers, non-smokers, and vapers.
They discovered significant differences in the gut bacteria of smokers, including an increase in a type of bacteria linked to higher risks of colon cancer and colitis.
Smokers also had fewer good bacteria called “probiotic Bacteroides,” which is connected to Crohn’s disease and obesity. However, vapers had the same kind of gut flora as non-smokers.
Effect of Vaping on DNA
However, a study posted in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research showed that people who smoked and vaped a lot had more DNA damage.
The study titled examined cells from the mouths of vapers, smokers, and those who never smoked or vaped. Researchers noticed that both vapers and smokers had over twice the DNA damage compared to non-users.
Another recent study in Scientific Reports found a connection between vaping and changes in certain genes related to the immune response and mitochondria (a part of cells).
The study involved 82 healthy adults split into three groups: current vapers (with and without a smoking history), cigarette smokers, and a control group of people who never smoked or vaped.
The researchers did tests to spot any shifts in gene activity and spoke to the participants about their habits to link the results to their behaviors. They discovered noticeable changes in immune response genes for both vapers and smokers.