Association between the gut microbiota and diet: Fetal life, early childhood, and further life

Nutrition. 2016 Jun;32(6):620-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.12.037. Epub 2015 Dec 31.


Gut microbiota establishment and further microbiota shifts are very important for maintaining host health throughout life. There are some factors, including genetics, the mother's health and diet, delivery mode, breast or formula feeding, that may influence the gut microbiota. By the end of approximately the first 3 y of life, the gut microbiota becomes an adult-like stable system. Once established, 60 to 70% of the microbiota composition remains stable throughout life, but 30 to 40% can be altered by changes in the diet and other factors such as physical activity, lifestyle, bacterial infections, and antibiotic or surgical treatment. Diet-related factors that influence the gut microbiota in people of all ages are of great interest. Nutrition may have therapeutic success in gut microbiota correction. This review describes current evidence concerning the links between gut microbiota composition and dietary patterns throughout life.

Keywords: Appetite; Carbohydrates; Dietary patterns; Fats; Formula and breast feeding; Gut microbiota; Intestinal microbiota development; Nutrients; Proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diet / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / embryology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Pregnancy