04 May 2020 In General Health

Understanding how dietary nutrients modulate the gut microbiome is of great interest for the development of food products and eating patterns for combatting the global burden of non-communicable diseases.

In this narrative review we assess scientific studies published from 2005 to 2019 that evaluated the effect of micro- and macro-nutrients on the composition of the gut microbiome using in vitro and in vivo models, and human clinical trials. The clinical evidence for micronutrients is less clear and generally lacking.

However, preclinical evidence suggests that red wine- and tea-derived polyphenols and vitamin D can modulate potentially beneficial bacteria. Current research shows consistent clinical evidence that dietary fibers, including arabinoxylans, galacto-oligosaccharides, inulin, and oligofructose, promote a range of beneficial bacteria and suppress potentially detrimental species.

The preclinical evidence suggests that both the quantity and type of fat modulate both beneficial and potentially detrimental microbes, as well as the Firmicutes/Bacteroides ratio in the gut. Clinical and preclinical studies suggest that the type and amount of proteins in the diet has substantial and differential effects on the gut microbiota.

Further clinical investigation of the effect of micronutrients and macronutrients on the microbiome and metabolome is warranted, along with understanding how this influences host health.

26 November 2019 In Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic consequence of metabolic syndrome, which often also includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. The connection between gut microbiota (GM) and NAFLD has attracted significant attention in recent years. Data has shown that GM affects hepatic lipid metabolism and influences the balance between pro/anti-inflammatory effectors in the liver. Although studies reveal the association between GM dysbiosis and NAFLD, decoding the mechanisms of gut dysbiosis resulting in NAFLD remains challenging. The potential pathophysiology that links GM dysbiosis to NAFLD can be summarized as: (1) disrupting the balance between energy harvest and expenditure, (2) promoting hepatic inflammation (impairing intestinal integrity, facilitating endotoxemia, and initiating inflammatory cascades with cytokines releasing), and (3) altered biochemistry metabolism and GM-related metabolites (i.e., bile acid, short-chain fatty acids, aromatic amino acid derivatives, branched-chain amino acids, choline, ethanol). Due to the hypothesis that probiotics/synbiotics could normalize GM and reverse dysbiosis, there have been efforts to investigate the therapeutic effect of probiotics/synbiotics in patients with NAFLD. Recent randomized clinical trials suggest that probiotics/synbiotics could improve transaminases, hepatic steatosis, and reduce hepatic inflammation. Despite these promising results, future studies are necessary to understand the full role GM plays in NAFLD development and progression. Additionally, further data is needed to unravel probiotics/synbiotics efficacy, safety, and sustainability as a novel pharmacologic approaches to NAFLD.

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