Gut bacteria selectively promoted by dietary fibers alleviate type 2 diabetes

Science. 2018 Mar 9;359(6380):1151-1156. doi: 10.1126/science.aao5774.


The gut microbiota benefits humans via short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production from carbohydrate fermentation, and deficiency in SCFA production is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We conducted a randomized clinical study of specifically designed isoenergetic diets, together with fecal shotgun metagenomics, to show that a select group of SCFA-producing strains was promoted by dietary fibers and that most other potential producers were either diminished or unchanged in patients with T2DM. When the fiber-promoted SCFA producers were present in greater diversity and abundance, participants had better improvement in hemoglobin A1c levels, partly via increased glucagon-like peptide-1 production. Promotion of these positive responders diminished producers of metabolically detrimental compounds such as indole and hydrogen sulfide. Targeted restoration of these SCFA producers may present a novel ecological approach for managing T2DM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • China
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism*
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metagenomics
  • Middle Aged


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Indoles
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • indole
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Hydrogen Sulfide