Evidence of the role nutrition plays in shaping our gut microbiome is on the rise. With that, people are asking: can we personalize nutrition based on an individual’s gut microbiota composition?

A study undertaken in Russia looks at the impact of a short-term dietary intervention on the gut microbiome

Large scale clinical trials are beginning to support the use of microbiome testing to tailor diet advice, as we begin to understand that each person’s microbiome may react differently to a dietary intervention.

A recent study by researchers at Skolkovo Innovation Center in Russia led by Natalia Klimenko aimed at looking at the impact of a short term dietary intervention on the gut microbiome. Researchers took the first steps to assessing whether dietary intervention would have a significant impact on a person’s gut microbiota– and who would best respond based on initial microbial composition.

Participants were instructed with general, as well as personalized nutrition advice based on their typical diet, with a goal to increase their intake of fibre-containing foods, and decrease their intake of sugar, salt and saturated fat. Over the duration of two weeks, the participants followed the instructions and made changes to their diet.

The results show that a person’s baseline gut microbiota composition was a good predictor to assess who would best respond to the dietary intervention in a positive way.

Individuals who consumed less fibre-containing foods at baseline experienced the largest shift in their microbiome, with a rapid increase of fibre-degrading bacteria.

Evaluating original bacterial composition is the best way of knowing which subjects will respond best to a change in diet

This shows that short-term dietary intervention can promote changes in the gut microbiota composition to become more similar to those who have consumed a higher fibre diet long term.

While this study shows that dietary intervention can change microbial profiles in the short term, it does not assess the long-term changes, nor the influence the gut microbiota change has on disease risk and long-term health.

This interesting development in the field of tailored nutrition shows that assessing bacterial composition prior to dietary changes predict who may better respond from a specific dietary intervention. It also paves the way for the research on long term interventions– specifically with an interest in impact on human health.

These results continue to support research looking into the role individualized microbiome testing can play in developing personalized nutrition recommendations.




Klimenko, N., Tyakht, A., Popenko, A., Vasiliev, A., Altukhov, I., Ischenko, D., . . . Alexeev, D. (2018). Microbiome Responses to an Uncontrolled Short-Term Diet Intervention in the Frame of the Citizen Science Project. Nutrients,10(5), 576. doi:10.3390/nu10050576