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Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Jul 1;15(7):11678-99. doi: 10.3390/ijms150711678.

Mediterranean diet and health: food effects on gut microbiota and disease control.

Author information

1
Unit of Metagenomics, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza Sant'Onofrio, Rome 400165, Italy. federica.delchierico@opbg.net.
2
Unit of Metagenomics, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza Sant'Onofrio, Rome 400165, Italy. pamela.vernocchi@opbg.net.
3
Scientific Directorate, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza Sant'Onofrio, Rome 400165, Italy. bruno.dallapiccola@opbg.net.
4
Unit of Parasitology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza Sant'Onofrio, Rome 400165, Italy. lorenza.putignani@opbg.net.

Abstract

The Mediterranean diet (MD) is considered one of the healthiest dietary models. Many of the characteristic components of the MD have functional features with positive effects on health and wellness. The MD adherence, calculated through various computational scores, can lead to a reduction of the incidence of major diseases (e.g., cancers, metabolic and cardiovascular syndromes, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes and allergy). Furthermore, eating habits are the main significant determinants of the microbial multiplicity of the gut, and dietary components influence both microbial populations and their metabolic activities from the early stages of life. For this purpose, we present a study proposal relying on the generation of individual gut microbiota maps from MD-aware children/adolescents. The maps, based on meta-omics approaches, may be considered as new tools, acting as a systems biology-based proof of evidence to evaluate MD effects on gut microbiota homeostasis. Data integration of food metabotypes and gut microbiota "enterotypes" may allow one to interpret MD adherence and its effects on health in a new way, employable for the design of targeted diets and nutraceutical interventions in childcare and clinical management of food-related diseases, whose onset has been significantly shifted early in life.

PMID:
24987952
PMCID:
PMC4139807
DOI:
10.3390/ijms150711678
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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