Diet, the human gut microbiota, and IBD

Anaerobe. 2013 Dec;24:117-20. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 Mar 30.


The human gut contains a vast number of microorganisms known collectively as the "gut microbiota". Despite its importance in maintaining the health of the host, growing evidence suggests the gut microbiota may also be an important factor in the pathogenesis of various diseases, a number of which have shown a rapid increase in incidence over the past few decades. Factors including age, genetics, and diet may influence microbiota composition. We used diet inventories and 16S rDNA sequencing to characterize fecal samples from 98 individuals. Fecal communities clustered into previously described enterotypes distinguished primarily by levels of Bacteroides and Prevotella. Enterotypes were associated with long-term diets, particularly protein and animal fat (Bacteroides) vs. simple carbohydrates (Prevotella). Although the distinction of enterotypes as either discrete clusters or a continuum will require additional investigation, numerous studies have demonstrated the co-exclusion of the closely related Prevotellaceae and Bacteroides genera in the gut microbiota of healthy human subjects where Prevotella appears to be a discriminatory taxon for residence in more agrarian societies. Ultimately, the impact of diet on the human gut microbiota may be an important environmental factor involved in the pathogenesis of disease states that show a rapidly increasing incidence in industrialized nations such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Keywords: Diet; Genomics; Gut; Human; Microbiota.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biota*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology*