Dietary Influence of the Gut Microbiome Potential Hazards and Benefits

Edward Yang and David A. Johnson

Over the past decade, significant advancements in metagenomics and metabolomics have shed light on the intricate influence of the gut microbiome on the course of systemic diseases. Even more recently, data has emerged on specific bacterial metabolites and antigens interacting with the immune system to modulate these diseases. As diet partly determines the gut flora, we analyzed studies on dietary effects on the gut microbiome and discuss the impact of this interaction on a broad spectrum of systemic diseases. We performed PubMed and Google searches limited to the past 10 years to compile the latest data and trends in dietary influences on the microbiome and systemic diseases. We found that dietary effects on the gut microbiome plays a major role in the course of a variety of systemic diseases including cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, auto-inflammatory disease, and asthma. This is mediated via immunomodulation and bacterial metabolites of dietary sources. Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) were identified as microbiome metabolites of undigestable polysaccharides affecting broad ranges of diseases using diverse functions in G-protein receptor binding, immunomodulation, hormone regulation, and mucosal protection. Diet and the gut microbiome appear to have interactive roles in influencing a broad range of systemic diseases, but only a finite, very specific number of mechanisms have been identified to date. Data in the near future should focus on expanding our knowledge on bacterial metabolomics as it relates to these systemic diseases.