Dietary fat and gut microbiota: mechanisms involved in obesity control

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(19):3045-3053. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1481821. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Obesity is a serious global health problem that is directly related to various morbidities manifestation. Intestinal dysbiosis has been implicated on obesity pathogenesis. Diet composition can alter gut microbiota, regardless of energy intake. Dietary fatty acids quality may affect gut microbiota composition, which in turn may affect host metabolic health. The mechanisms by which the different type of FFA modulate gut microbiota is yet poor elucidate and there is a lack of studies regard to this. Fatty acids may act in cell membrane, interfere with energy production, inhibit enzymatic activities, impair nutrient absorption and generate toxic compounds to cells, leading to growth inhibition or even bacterial death. The beneficial effect of the consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on microbiota, unlike n-6 PUFA and saturated fatty acids has been suggested. n-3 PUFA consumption promotes desirable changes on obese intestinal microbiota making it similar to that of normal weight individuals. More studies are needed to better understand the effect of CLA on microbiota and host health. Long term human controlled clinical trials must be conducted to allow us to understand the complex interaction between dietary fat, intestinal microbiota and obesity.

Keywords: Antimicrobial; diet; dysbiosis; free fatty acids; microrganims.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fats*
  • Dysbiosis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / microbiology*


  • Dietary Fats