Nutrition, Microbiomes, and Intestinal Inflammation

Suzanne Devkota; Eugene B. Chang


Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2013;29(6):603-607. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Purpose of review To present and evaluate the recent findings that contribute to our understanding of the functional impact of diet on the enteric microbiome and outcomes of disease.

Recent findings Nutrients in excess and in deficiency have significant impact on gut microbial communities in both rodents and humans, acting directly on the microbiota or indirectly via altering host physiology. Furthermore, the effects of diet on the microbiome in determining health or disease can differ substantially depending on the age and environment of the individual.

Summary Dietary compounds can have profound short-term and long-term effects on the assemblage of the gut microbiome, which in turn affects the host–microbe interactions critically important for intestinal, metabolic, and immune homeostasis. Until recently, the mechanisms underlying these effects were poorly understood. However, new insights have now been gained, made possible through the application of advanced technologies and bioinformatics, novel experimental models, and human research. As a result, our conceptual framework for understanding the impact of diet on the gut microbiome, health, and disease has advanced considerably, bringing the promise of better tools of risk assessment, diagnostics, and therapeutic intervention in an age of personalized medicine.


The gastrointestinal tract is both the largest endocrine and immune organ in the entire body – an evolutionary adaptation owing largely to the continual influx of food products we consume and need to digest. With over 50 known gut hormone genes and a multitude of bioactive peptides, and a mucosal surface harboring a dense microbial community, it is no wonder that dysbiosis and imbalances of the gastrointestinal tract have been implicated in an array of diseases throughout the body. In this review, we will discuss the latest research in the area of diet–microbe interactions and offer perspective on the influence of diet in maintaining immune homeostasis in the gut, and provide insight into new therapeutic pathways.