Microbiota and Lifestyle: A Special Focus on Diet

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 15;12(6):1776. doi: 10.3390/nu12061776.


It is widely known that a good balance and healthy function for bacteria groups in the colon are necessary to maintain homeostasis and preserve health. However, the lack of consensus on what defines a healthy gut microbiota and the multitude of factors that influence human gut microbiota composition complicate the development of appropriate dietary recommendations for our gut microbiota. Furthermore, the varied response to the intake of probiotics and prebiotics observed in healthy adults suggests the existence of potential inter- and intra-individual factors, which might account for gut microbiota changes to a greater extent than diet. The changing dietary habits worldwide involving consumption of processed foods containing artificial ingredients, such as sweeteners; the coincident rise in emotional disorders; and the worsening of other lifestyle habits, such as smoking habits, drug consumption, and sleep, can together contribute to gut dysbiosis and health impairment, as well as the development of chronic diseases. This review summarizes the current literature on the effects of specific dietary ingredients (probiotics, prebiotics, alcohol, refined sugars and sweeteners, fats) in the gut microbiota of healthy adults and the potential inter- and intra-individual factors involved, as well as the influence of other potential lifestyle factors that are dramatically increasing nowadays.

Keywords: diet; gut microbiota; healthy adults; inter-individual and intra-individual factors; lifestyle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Dysbiosis / epidemiology
  • Dysbiosis / etiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Stress, Psychological / microbiology


  • Prebiotics