Diet and gut microbiome interactions of relevance for symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome

Microbiome. 2021 Mar 26;9(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s40168-021-01018-9.

Julien Tap 1, Stine Störsrud 2, Boris Le Nevé 3, Aurélie Cotillard 3, Nicolas Pons 4, Joël Doré 4, Lena Öhman 2 5, Hans Törnblom 2, Muriel Derrien # 3, Magnus Simrén # 6 7


Author information

  • 1Danone Nutricia Research, Palaiseau, France. julien.tap@danone.com.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • 3Danone Nutricia Research, Palaiseau, France.
  • 4MGP MetaGénoPolis, INRA, Université Paris-Saclay, Jouy en Josas, France.
  • 5Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • 6Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. magnus.simren@medicine.gu.se.
  • 7Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. magnus.simren@medicine.gu.se.


Background: While several studies have documented associations between dietary habits and microbiota composition and function in healthy individuals, no study explored these associations in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and especially with symptoms.

Methods: Here, we used a novel approach that combined data from a 4-day food diary, integrated into a food tree, together with gut microbiota (shotgun metagenomic) for individuals with IBS (N = 149) and healthy controls (N = 52). Paired microbiota and food-based trees allowed us to detect new associations between subspecies and diet. Combining co-inertia analysis and linear regression models, exhaled gas levels and symptom severity could be predicted from metagenomic and dietary data.

Results: We showed that individuals with severe IBS are characterized by a higher intake of poorer-quality food items during their main meals. Our analysis suggested that covariations between gut microbiota at subspecies level and diet could be explained with IBS symptom severity, exhaled gas, glycan metabolism, and meat/plant ratio. We provided evidence that IBS severity is associated with altered gut microbiota hydrogen function in correlation with microbiota enzymes involved in animal carbohydrate metabolism.

Conclusions: Our study provides an unprecedented resolution of diet-microbiota-symptom interactions and ultimately guides new interventional studies that aim to identify gut microbiome-based nutritional recommendations for the management of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Trial registration: This trial was registered on the ClinicalTrials.gov, with the registration number NCT01252550 , on 3rd December 2010. Video abstract.

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