Current explorations of nutrition and the gut microbiome: a comprehensive evaluation of the review literature

The gut microbiota and host health

The human gut microbiota — it might be more accurate to think of it like an immune system: a collection of cells that work in unison with the host and that can promote health but sometimes initiate disease.

Featured article:

Frame, L. A., Costa, E., & Jackson, S. A. (2020). Current explorations of nutrition and the gut microbiome: A comprehensive evaluation of the review literature. Nutrition Reviews, published 25 March 2020.

“The ability to measure the gut microbiome led to a surge in understanding and knowledge of its role in health and disease. The diet is a source of fuel for and influencer of composition of the microbiome.”

The review assessed “the understanding of the interactions between nutrition and the gut microbiome in healthy adults.”

Searches were conducted in March and August 2018 in PubMed and Google Scholar and “were limited to the following: English, 2010–2018, healthy adults, and reviews. A total of 86 articles were independently screened for duplicates and relevance, based on preidentified inclusion criteria.”

Analysis: “research has focused on dietary fiber – microbiota fuel. The benefits of fiber center on short-chain fatty acids, which are required by colonocytes, improve absorption, and reduce intestinal transit time. Contrastingly, protein promotes microbial protein metabolism and potentially harmful by-products that can stagnate in the gut. The microbiota utilize and produce micronutrients; the bidirectional relationship between micronutrition and the gut microbiome is emerging.

Nutrition has profound effects on microbial composition, in turn affecting wide-ranging metabolic, hormonal, and neurological processes. There is no consensus on what defines a “healthy” gut microbiome. Future research must consider individual responses to diet.”

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