The gut microbiota is composed of a diverse population of obligate and facultative anaerobic microorganisms which are shown to influence host metabolism and immune homeostasis. This study investigated the effects of virgin coconut oil on the weekly fasting glycaemia, daily food and water intake and weekly body mass gain over 16 weeks, as well as the changes in composition of gut microbiota in both non-diabetic and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Although the intake of virgin coconut oil did not decrease the diabetes-induced hyperglycemia, it affected the secondary parameters, such as food and water intake and average body mass gain. Furthermore, its potential to positively affect the fecal microbiome was proved, since it significantly increased the abundance of probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, Allobaculum and Bifidobacterium species.
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene sequencing; Alpha diversity; Beta diversity; Microbiota; Type 2 diabetes.