Gut Microbiota and Lifestyle Interventions in NAFLD

Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Mar 25;17(4):447. doi: 10.3390/ijms17040447.


The human digestive system harbors a diverse and complex community of microorganisms that work in a symbiotic fashion with the host, contributing to metabolism, immune response and intestinal architecture. However, disruption of a stable and diverse community, termed "dysbiosis", has been shown to have a profound impact upon health and disease. Emerging data demonstrate dysbiosis of the gut microbiota to be linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although the exact mechanism(s) remain unknown, inflammation, damage to the intestinal membrane, and translocation of bacteria have all been suggested. Lifestyle intervention is undoubtedly effective at improving NAFLD, however, not all patients respond to these in the same manner. Furthermore, studies investigating the effects of lifestyle interventions on the gut microbiota in NAFLD patients are lacking. A deeper understanding of how different aspects of lifestyle (diet/nutrition/exercise) affect the host-microbiome interaction may allow for a more tailored approach to lifestyle intervention. With gut microbiota representing a key element of personalized medicine and nutrition, we review the effects of lifestyle interventions (diet and physical activity/exercise) on gut microbiota and how this impacts upon NAFLD prognosis.

Keywords: NAFLD; diet and exercise; gut microbiota; lifestyle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Life Style*
  • Microbiota*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology*
  • Prebiotics / microbiology
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage


  • Prebiotics