Advances in sequencing technologies over the past 15 years have led to a substantially greater appreciation of the importance of the gut microbiome to the health of the host. Recent outcomes indicate that aspects of nutrition, especially lipids (exogenous or endogenous), can influence the gut microbiota composition and consequently, play an important role in the metabolic health of the host. Thus, there is an increasing interest in applying holistic analytical approaches, such as lipidomics, metabolomics, (meta)transcriptomics, (meta)genomics, and (meta)proteomics, to thoroughly study the gut microbiota and any possible interplay with nutritional or endogenous components. This review firstly summarizes the general background regarding the interactions between important non-polar dietary (i.e., sterols, fat-soluble vitamins, and carotenoids) or amphoteric endogenous (i.e., eicosanoids, endocannabinoids-eCBs, and specialized pro-resolving mediators-SPMs) lipids and gut microbiota. In the second stage, through the evaluation of a vast number of dietary clinical interventions, a comprehensive effort is made to highlight the role of the above lipid categories on gut microbiota and vice versa. In addition, the present status of lipidomics in current clinical interventions as well as their strengths and limitations are also presented. Indisputably, dietary lipids and most phytochemicals, such as sterols and carotenoids, can play an important role on the development of medical foods or nutraceuticals, as they exert prebiotic-like effects. On the other hand, endogenous lipids can be considered either prognostic indicators of symbiosis or dysbiosis or even play a role as specialized mediators through dietary interventions, which seem to be regulated by gut microbiota.
Keywords: carotenoids; eicosanoids; endocannabinoids; fat-soluble vitamins; gut microbiota; lipid mediators; lipidomics; nutrition; phytosterols.