Gut microbiota is associated with dietary intake and metabolic markers in healthy individuals

  • Line Gaundal Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
  • Mari C.W. Myhrstad Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
  • Ida Rud Nofima AS (Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research), Ås, Norway
  • Terje Gjøvaag Department of Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
  • Marte G. Byfuglien Mills AS, Oslo, Norway
  • Kjetil Retterstøl Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Blindern, Oslo, Norway; and The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Department of Endocrinology, Morbid Obesity and Preventive Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
  • Kirsten B. Holven Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Blindern, Oslo, Norway; and The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Department of Endocrinology, Morbid Obesity and Preventive Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
  • Stine M. Ulven Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Blindern, Oslo, Norway
  • Vibeke H. Telle-Hansen Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
Keywords: Gut microbiota, metabolic markers, diet, healthy, humans, dietary fiber, vegetables, dietary fat, blood pressure, cholesterol.


Background: Metabolic diseases have been related to gut microbiota, and new knowledge indicates that diet impacts host metabolism through the gut microbiota. Identifying specific gut bacteria associated with both diet and metabolic risk markers may be a potential strategy for future dietary disease prevention. However, studies investigating the association between the gut microbiota, diet, and metabolic markers in healthy individuals are scarce.

Objective: We explored the relationship between a panel of gut bacteria, dietary intake, and metabolic and anthropometric markers in healthy adults.

Design: Forty-nine volunteers were included in this cross-sectional study. Measures of glucose, serum triglyceride, total cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), blood pressure (BP), and body mass index (BMI) were collected after an overnight fast, in addition to fecal samples for gut microbiota analyzes using a targeted approach with a panel of 48 bacterial DNA probes and assessment of dietary intake by a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Correlations between gut bacteria, dietary intake, and metabolic and anthropometric markers were assessed by Pearson’s correlation. Gut bacteria varying according to dietary intake and metabolic markers were assessed by a linear regression model and adjusted for age, sex, and BMI.

Results: Of the 48 gut bacteria measured, 24 and 16 bacteria correlated significantly with dietary intake and metabolic and/or anthropometric markers, respectively. Gut bacteria including AlistipesLactobacillus spp., and Bacteroides stercoris differed according to the intake of the food components, fiber, sodium, saturated fatty acids, and dietary indices, and metabolic markers (BP and total cholesterol) after adjustments. Notably, Bacteroides stercoris correlated positively with the intake of fiber, grain products, and vegetables, and higher Bacteroides stercoris abundance was associated with higher adherence to Healthy Nordic Food Index (HNFI) and lower diastolic BP after adjustment.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the relationship between the gut microbiota, diet, and metabolic markers in healthy individuals. Further investigations are needed to address whether these findings are causally linked and whether targeting these gut bacteria can prevent metabolic diseases.


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How to Cite
Gaundal L., Myhrstad M. C., Rud I., Gjøvaag T., Byfuglien M. G., Retterstøl K., Holven K. B., Ulven S. M., & Telle-Hansen V. H. (2022). Gut microbiota is associated with dietary intake and metabolic markers in healthy individuals. Food & Nutrition Research, 66.
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