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Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2015 Feb 4;26:26164. doi: 10.3402/mehd.v26.26164. eCollection 2015.

Contribution of diet to the composition of the human gut microbiota.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Max Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Karlsruhe, Germany.
  • 2Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.
  • 3Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
  • 4Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.
  • 5VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland.
  • 6Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Max Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Karlsruhe, Germany; bernhard.watzl@mri.bund.de.

Abstract

In the human gut, millions of bacteria contribute to the microbiota, whose composition is specific for every individual. Although we are just at the very beginning of understanding the microbiota concept, we already know that the composition of the microbiota has a profound impact on human health. A key factor in determining gut microbiota composition is diet. Preliminary evidence suggests that dietary patterns are associated with distinct combinations of bacteria in the intestine, also called enterotypes. Western diets result in significantly different microbiota compositions than traditional diets. It is currently unknown which food constituents specifically promote growth and functionality of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. The aim of this review is to summarize the recently published evidence from human in vivo studies on the gut microbiota-modulating effects of diet. It includes sections on dietary patterns (e.g. Western diet), whole foods, food constituents, as wells as food-associated microbes and their influence on the composition of human gut microbiota. The conclusions highlight the problems faced by scientists in this fast-developing field of research, and the need for high-quality, large-scale human dietary intervention studies.

KEYWORDS:

diet; dietary patterns; food constituents; human gut microbiota

PMID:
25656825
PMCID:
PMC4318938
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