The gut microbiome and daily feeding/fasting cycle influence host metabolism and contribute to obesity and metabolic diseases. However, fundamental characteristics of this relationship between the feeding/fasting cycle and the gut microbiome are unknown. Our studies show that the gut microbiome is highly dynamic, exhibiting daily cyclical fluctuations in composition. Diet-induced obesity dampens the daily feeding/fasting rhythm and diminishes many of these cyclical fluctuations. Time-restricted feeding (TRF), in which feeding is consolidated to the nocturnal phase, partially restores these cyclical fluctuations. Furthermore, TRF, which protects against obesity and metabolic diseases, affects bacteria shown to influence host metabolism. Cyclical changes in the gut microbiome from feeding/fasting rhythms contribute to the diversity of gut microflora and likely represent a mechanism by which the gut microbiome affects host metabolism. Thus, feeding pattern and time of harvest, in addition to diet, are important parameters when assessing the microbiome's contribution to host metabolism.
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