Asee peer logo

Investigation of Dominant Daily Uptake Factors on Gut Health from Samples in the Database of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Download Paper |


2022 Spring ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Conference


Newark, New Jersey

Publication Date

April 22, 2022

Start Date

April 22, 2022

End Date

April 23, 2022

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Margaret Dugoni Villanova University


Nicola Iris Kaye Villanova University

visit author page

3rd year Chemical Engineering major with a minor in Biochemical Engineering.

visit author page


Zuyi (Jacky) Huang Villanova University

visit author page

Zuyi (Jacky) Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Villanova University. He teaches Chemical Process Control (for senior students) and Systems Biology (for graduate students) at Villanova. He is enthusiastic in applying innovative teaching methods in class to educate students with modeling and control skills. His research is focused on developing advanced modeling and systems analysis techniques to manipulate microbial biological systems for generating biofuels from wastewater and for combating biofilm-associated pathogens. His BESEL group developed the first model for microbial desalination cells and the first metabolic modeling approach for quantifying the biofilm formation of pathogens.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Investigation of Dominant Daily Uptake Factors on Gut Health from Samples in the Database of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (submitted as a student paper) Margaret Dugoni*, Nicola Kaye*, Zuyi (Jacky) Huang Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Villanova, PA, 19085 *- equal contribution

Abstract: The diversity of healthy gut bacteria in the human digestive system are linked to positive health effects. For example, the intestinal microbiome, including but not limited to, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Fusobacteria, can aid in the immune system, improve digestion, and support mental health. Since caffeine, sugars, and alcohol are among common daily intakes and they may upset the environment of the gut microbiota, it is important to investigate how these daily update factors influence gut health. An unhealthy gut can in turn lead to several negative effects on health, such as indigestion issue, low sleep quality, and poor mental health. The hypothesis that drives this research is that individuals who consume higher than the recommended volume of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will experience negative effects on their gut health, which can then impact an individual’s digestion, mental health, and quality of sleep. In order to investigate this hypothesis, data from the database of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was thoroughly screened for samples containing all factors studied in this work, including the daily consumption of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, and the examined levels of C-Reactive Protein and Tissue Transglutaminase IgA, two variables indicating the gut health as they are involved in gut inflammation. The NHANES data was imported into the R programming platform, which was followed by a dominance analysis on all factors to examine the largest influence on gut inflammation. Principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering were then performed to examine the variance of the variables as well as the grouping. Finally, a t-test was conducted to see if the consumption of a higher than the recommended value of caffeine, sugars, or alcohol has a significantly different effect on each of the parameters than a recommended value. The t-test was able to further validate the significance of the identified dominant factor. The dominance analysis demonstrated that the total amount of consumed sugar has the greatest impact on C-Reactive Protein, while consuming more caffeine had the largest impact on Tissue Transglutaminase IgA. The average amount of alcohol also appeared to impact C-Reactive Protein. To further emphasize the importance of gut health, the same analysis was performed while examining the effects of C-Reactive Protein and Tissue Transglutaminase IgA on other factors sampled from NHANES, including indigestion, poor sleep quality, and mental health. The dominant impacting variable on sleep quality in referenced to diagnosed sleep disorders was gut inflammation, and this same pattern follows for variables of depression, suicidal thoughts, and overall health. Therefore, not only does consuming more than the recommended daily intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar effect gut health, but the impact of poor gut health extends to overall health, sleep quality, and even mental health. This work initiates the effort to examine overall gut health, which requires analysis on more variables including nutrients, diet and human bowel health.

Dugoni, M., & Kaye, N. I., & Huang, Z. J. (2022, April), Investigation of Dominant Daily Uptake Factors on Gut Health from Samples in the Database of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Paper presented at 2022 Spring ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Conference, Newark, New Jersey.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015