A low-gluten diet induces changes in the intestinal microbiome of healthy Danish adults

Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 13;9(1):4630. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07019-x.


Adherence to a low-gluten diet has become increasingly common in parts of the general population. However, the effects of reducing gluten-rich food items including wheat, barley and rye cereals in healthy adults are unclear. Here, we undertook a randomised, controlled, cross-over trial involving 60 middle-aged Danish adults without known disorders with two 8-week interventions comparing a low-gluten diet (2 g gluten per day) and a high-gluten diet (18 g gluten per day), separated by a washout period of at least six weeks with habitual diet (12 g gluten per day). We find that, in comparison with a high-gluten diet, a low-gluten diet induces moderate changes in the intestinal microbiome, reduces fasting and postprandial hydrogen exhalation, and leads to improvements in self-reported bloating. These observations suggest that most of the effects of a low-gluten diet in non-coeliac adults may be driven by qualitative changes in dietary fibres.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cytokines / blood
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Denmark
  • Diet*
  • Fasting
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • Glutens / administration & dosage*
  • Glutens / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Metagenomics
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Hydrogen
  • Glutens
  • Creatinine