Dietary Protein and Gut Microbiota Composition and Function

Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2019;20(2):145-154. doi: 10.2174/1389203719666180514145437.


Dietary protein and its metabolites, amino acids, are essential nutrients for humans and animals. Accumulated research has revealed that the gut microbiota mediate the crosstalk between protein metabolism and host immune response. Gut microbes are involved in the digestion, absorption, metabolism and transformation process of dietary protein in the gastrointestinal tract. Amino acids can be metabolized into numerous microbial metabolites, and these metabolites participate in various physiological functions related to host health and diseases. The components of dietary protein impact the gut microbiota composition and microbial metabolites. The source, concentration, and amino acid balance of dietary protein are primary factors which contribute to the composition, structure and function of gut microbes. A suitable ratio between protein and carbohydrate or even a low protein diet is recommended over a diet with protein in excess of requirements. Greater levels and undigested protein lead to an increase of pathogenic microorganism with associated higher risk of metabolic diseases. Herein, the crosstalk between dietary protein and gut microbiota composition and function is summarized, which will help to reveal the potential mechanism of gut microbes on the gastrointestinal tract health.

Keywords: Dietary protein metabolism; amino acid transporter; gut microbiota; host health; metabolites; mucosal barrier..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Proteolysis


  • Dietary Proteins