Latest Research Highlights: Mediterranean diet

Published in Nature Medicine, 2021

The gut microbiome modulates the protective association between a Mediterranean diet and cardiometabolic disease risk

Dong D Wang, Long H Nguyen, Yanping Li, Yan Yan, Wenjie Ma, Ehud Rinott, Kerry L Ivey, Iris Shai, Walter C Willet, Frank B Hu, Eric B Rimm, Meir J Stampfer, Andrew T Chan, Curtis Huttenhower

The human microbiome is the collection of bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that reside in and on our bodies. In the past decade, the study of the human microbiome has been revolutionized by advancements in sequencing-based technologies. From 2011 to 2013, 307 HPFS participants donated up to four stool samples for studies of the gut microbiome. Using new gene-sequencing technologies to identify specific species of bacteria, the beneficial metabolic effects of the Mediterranean diet were particularly strong in a subgroup of participants defined by the depletion of specific bacteria in the stool samples. This initial finding supports the premise that dietary interventions or recommendations for cardiometabolic disease prevention might be tailored to an individual’s microbial profile, and encourages further research in the area.