The influence of dairy on the gut microbiome has not been studied extensively. We performed a randomized cross-over study to analyze the effect of high dairy intake on the gut microbiome. Subjects were randomly assigned to a high-dairy diet (HDD) (5-6 dairy portions per day) and a low-dairy diet (LDD) (≤1 dairy portion per day) for 6 weeks with a washout period of 4 weeks in between both diets. The gut microbiome was assessed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Compositionality and functionality of the gut microbiome was assessed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME) and Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt). Stool consistency was evaluated using the Bristol stool chart. In total, 46 healthy overweight subjects (BMI range 25-30 kg/m2) completed both intervention periods. During the HDD, there was a significantly higher abundance of the genera Streptococcus, Leuconostoc, and Lactococcus, and the species Streptococcus thermophilus, Erysipelatoclostridium ramosum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides (pFDR < 0.10). Furthermore, during the HDD, there was a significantly lower abundance of the genera Faecalibacterium and Bilophila, and the species Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium aldenense, Acetivibrio ethanolgignens, Bilophila wadsworthia and Lactococcus lactis (pFDR < 0.10). There were eight subjects who became constipated during the HDD and these subjects all had a lower abundance of F. prausnitzii. This is the first cross-over study in which the effect of an HDD compared to an LDD on the gut microbiome has been studied. An HDD led to a significantly different composition of the gut microbiome, with a particularly lower abundance of F. prausnitzii and a higher abundance of S. thermophilus. Constipation was observed in several subjects during the HDD. Predicted metabolic pathways were not significantly altered due to an HDD.
Keywords: Faecalibacterium prausnitzii; Streptococcus thermophilus; constipation; dairy; gut microbiome.