Multi-omics analyses reveal relationships among dairy consumption, gut microbiota and cardiometabolic health

EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr:66:103284. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103284. Epub 2021 Mar 19.


Background: Little is known about the interplay among dairy intake, gut microbiota and cardiometabolic health in human prospective cohort studies.

Methods: The present study included 1780 participants from the Guangzhou Nutrition and Health Study. We examined the prospective association between habitual dairy consumption (total dairy, milk, yogurt) and gut microbial composition using linear regression after adjusting for socio-demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors. The cross-sectional association of dairy-associated microbial features with cardiometabolic risk factors was examined with a linear regression model, adjusting for potential confounders. Serum metabolomic profiles were analyzed by partial correlation analysis.

Findings: There was a significant overall difference in gut microbial community structure (β-diversity) comparing the highest with the lowest category for each of total dairy, milk and yogurt (P < 0.05). We observed that dairy-associated microbes and α-diversity indices were inversely associated with blood triglycerides, while positively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. A follow-up metabolomics analysis revealed the association of targeted serum metabolites with dairy-microbial features and cardiometabolic traits. Specifically, 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid, 2-hydroxybutyric acid and L-alanine were inversely associated with dairy-microbial score, while positively associated with triglycerides (FDR-corrected P < 0.1).

Interpretation: Dairy consumption is associated with the gut microbial composition and a higher α-diversity, which provides new insights into the understanding of dairy-gut microbiota interactions and their relationship with cardiometabolic health.

Funding: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Zhejiang Ten-thousand Talents Program, Westlake University and the 5010 Program for Clinical Researches of the Sun Yat-sen University.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic risk factors; Dairy product; Gut microbiota; Metabolomics; Milk; Yogurt.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biodiversity
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers