Gluten-Free Diet Induces Changes In Gut Microbiome

“There is a need for more knowledge about the functions of specific gut bacteria; the most beneficial microbiota composition and the interaction between dietary components and the gut microbiota.”

  • Ettje Tigchelaar MSc, PhD student from department of Genetics, University of Groningen, Groningen
Ettje-F-Tigchelaar

Ettje Tigchelaar MSc

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A gluten-free diet is used by celiac disease patients to alleviate their symptoms. Previous research in these patients has shown differences in gut microbiota composition when on habitual gluten containing diet (HD) compared to a gluten-free diet (GFD). Recently more and more individuals without celiac disease also started to adopt a gluten-free diet to improve their health and/or control weight. We studied changes in gut microbiota composition in these healthy individuals on a gluten-free diet.

We observed changes in the abundance of specific bacteria, for example the abundance of the bacterium family Veillonellaceae was much lower on a gluten-free diet versus HD, whereas it was higher for the family Clostridiaceae.

We also looked at the function of the bacteria in the gut and found that many of those bacteria that changed because of the gluten-free diet played a role in metabolism of starch. This makes sense since starch is like gluten highly present in wheat containing products, thus when eliminating gluten from the diet, the intake of starch also changes and the gut bacteria processing this dietary starch change accordingly.

microbiome-gluten-free-dietMedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The gut microbiota is more different between individuals than within an individual over time. Diet and the gut microbiome interact with each other. The perfect diet for your gut microbiota is not fully understood yet. In general, fibre is considered beneficial for your gut health. A gluten-free diet can be accompanied by lower fiber intake so it is important to be aware of that and take fibers from non-wheat sources.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There is a need for more knowledge about the functions of specific gut bacteria as well as more insight in the most beneficial microbiota composition and the interaction between dietary components and the gut microbiota. When those aspects will be better understood, one could start thinking about the development of therapies to guide the microbiota with food and probiotics into the direction of the most beneficial microbiota composition.

CitationThe influence of a short-term gluten-free diet on the human gut microbiome

  • Marc Jan Bonder†, Ettje F. Tigchelaar†, Xianghang Cai†, Gosia Trynka, Maria C. Cenit, Barbara Hrdlickova, Huanzi Zhong, Tommi Vatanen, Dirk Gevers, Cisca Wijmenga,  Yang Wang† and Alexandra Zhernakova
  • Genome Medicine20168:45 DOI: 10.1186/s13073-016-0295-y 21 April 2016

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