The interplay between dietary fatty acids and gut microbiota influences host metabolism and hepatic steatosis

Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 1;14(1):5329. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41074-3.


Dietary lipids can affect metabolic health through gut microbiota-mediated mechanisms, but the influence of lipid-microbiota interaction on liver steatosis is largely unknown. We investigate the impact of dietary lipids on human gut microbiota composition and the effects of microbiota-lipid interactions on steatosis in male mice. In humans, low intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) is associated with increased microbial diversity independent of fiber intake. In mice, poorly absorbed dietary long-chain SFA, particularly stearic acid, induce a shift in bile acid profile and improved metabolism and steatosis. These benefits are dependent on the gut microbiota, as they are transmitted by microbial transfer. Diets enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids are protective against steatosis but have minor influence on the microbiota. In summary, we find that diets enriched in poorly absorbed long-chain SFA modulate gut microbiota profiles independent of fiber intake, and this interaction is relevant to improve metabolism and decrease liver steatosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Liver*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microbiota*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Dietary Fats