Gut Microbiota and Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Patients with Food Allergies: A Systematic Review

Microorganisms. 2022 Sep 26;10(10):1904. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10101904.


The prevalence of food allergies (FAs) has increased considerably in recent decades, with the only available treatment being the avoidance of the specific food items causing the allergy. FAs may have a major impact on quality of life, and it is of great interest to explore new strategies to prevent and treat FAs. Some studies show an altered gut microbiota profile in individuals with FAs, and the modulation of gut microbiota is therefore proposed as a potential strategy for prevention and treatment. This systematic review aimed to investigate: (1) the gut microbiota profile in individuals with FAs compared to healthy individuals and (2) the effect of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) on gut microbiota profiles and/or allergy symptoms. A literature search was conducted in PubMed (Medline) on 5 April 2022. Of the 236 publications identified, 12 studies were included based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Eleven of these studies reported results on the gut microbiota in children with FAs compared to healthy controls (HCs). The majority of studies (six studies) observed no difference in alpha diversity when comparing children with FAs to HCs; however, a difference in beta diversity was observed in five studies. At the phylum level, we observed a high abundance of Firmicutes (six studies) and Proteobacteria (five studies), whereas a low abundance of Bacteroidetes (5 studies) was observed in children with FAs compared to HCs. Of the 12 included studies, four explored the effect of FMT on gut microbiota and/or allergy symptoms. Three studies reported that transferring gut microbiota from children without FAs to germ-free mice, protected the mice against allergic reactions, whereas one study did not report findings on the allergic symptoms. The results on gut microbiota after FMT varied and were too divergent to draw any conclusions. Overall, our results suggest that there are differences in the gut microbiota profile in individuals with FAs compared to individuals without FAs. FMT seems to be a promising strategy to prevent allergic symptoms but needs to be further explored in animal and human models. As the findings in this review are based on a small number of studies (12 studies), further studies are warranted before any clear conclusions can be drawn regarding gut microbiota profiles and the effect of FMT on individuals with FAs.

Keywords: fecal microbiota transplantation; food allergy; gut microbiota.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.