Metabolomics view on gut microbiome modulation by polyphenol-rich foods

J Proteome Res. 2012 Oct 5;11(10):4781-90. doi: 10.1021/pr300581s. Epub 2012 Sep 6.


Health is influenced by genetic, lifestyle, and diet determinants; therefore, nutrition plays an essential role in health management. Still, the substantiation of nutritional health benefits is challenged by the intrinsic macro- and micronutrient complexity of foods and individual responses. Evidence of healthy effects of food requires new strategies not only to stratify populations according to their metabolic requirements but also to predict and measure individual responses to dietary intakes. The influence of the gut microbiome and its interaction with the host is pivotal to understand nutrition and metabolism. Thus, the modulation of the gut microbiome composition by alteration of food habits has potentialities in health improvement or even disease prevention. Dietary polyphenols are naturally occurring constituents in vegetables and fruits, including coffee and cocoa. They are commonly associated to health benefits, although mechanistic evidence in vivo is not yet fully understood. Polyphenols are extensively metabolized by gut bacteria into a complex series of end-products that support a significant effect on the functional ecology of symbiotic partners that can affect the host physiology. This review reports recent nutritional metabolomics inspections of gut microbiota-host metabolic interactions with a particular focus on the cometabolism of cocoa and coffee polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biotransformation
  • Cacao / metabolism*
  • Coffee / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Digestion
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics
  • Metagenome*
  • Polyphenols / metabolism*


  • Coffee
  • Polyphenols