Microbiome-mediated effects of the Mediterranean diet on inflammation

Melisa A. Bailey, Hannah D. Holscher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The Mediterranean diet pattern is increasingly associated with improvedmetabolic health. Twomechanisms by which consuming a Mediterranean diet pattern may contribute to improved metabolic health are modulation of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota and reduction of metabolic endotoxemia. Metabolic endotoxemia, defined as a 2- to 3-fold increase in circulating levels of bacterial endotoxin, has been proposed as a cause of inflammation during metabolic dysfunction. As the largest source of endotoxins in the human body, the GI microbiota represents a crucial area for research on strategies for reducing endotoxemia. Diets high in saturated fat and low in fiber contribute to metabolic endotoxemia through several mechanisms, including changes in the GI microbiome and bacterial fermentation end products, intestinal physiology and barrier function, and enterohepatic circulation of bile acids. Thus, the Mediterranean diet pattern, rich in unsaturated fats and fiber, may be one dietary strategy to reduce metabolic endotoxemia. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the differential effects of dietary saturated and unsaturated fats on the microbiota and metabolic health, but human studies are lacking. The role of dietary fiber and the GI microbiome in metabolic endotoxemia is underinvestigated. Clinical research on the effects of different types of dietary fat and fiber on the GI microbiota and GI and systemic inflammation is necessary to determine efficacious dietary strategies for reducing metabolic endotoxemia, inflammation, and subsequent metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-206
Number of pages114
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Keywords

  • Fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Intestinal microbiota
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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