Influencing microbiome through diet

Influencing microbiome through diet

Many factors impact the community of microorganisms populating our body, our microbiome, either positively or negatively. The most relevant factors include age, diet, the use of antibiotics and genetics. All these elements can influence our microbiome because they are able to modify the environment where the microorganisms of our microbiome live.

A change in gut microbiome will surely determine a change in the status of our general health and in the skin microbiome itself. There is a strong and well-demonstrated link (1,2) between bowel, skin and brain. This connection is known as the “gut-brain-skin axis”. Any action on one of its points will cause transformations in the others. If we eat well, following a diet that positively influences our gut microbiome, this will inevitably and positively impact on our skin microbiome and on our central nervous system at the same time.

Did you know?

  • 80% of serotonin is produced in the guts and only 20% in the brain
  • Gut microbiome can interact with our central nervous system sending signals through tiny molecule produced by its microorganisms

Among the many factors that can influence microbiome, diet is a fundamental one (3).

Our microbiome can be strongly influenced by both long- and short-term changes in our diet.

A long-term dietary pattern rich in carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, sugar) increases the number of microorganisms of the genus Prevotella (4). A diet rich in proteins, especially meat, increases the number of microorganisms of the genus Bacteroides.

Recent studies have underlined that also short-term changes in the dietary pattern (about 10 days) are capable of producing significant changes in the composition of the gut microbiome.

The best way to maintain a healthy gut microbial population consists in adding vegetal fibers (broccoli, leek, onion, fennel, carrot, etc.), raw vegetables/fruits and fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, yeast base, sauerkraut, etc.) to the diet. This will also foster the growth of beneficial microorganisms such as Faecalibaterium prausnitzii, Bifidobacterium and Clostridium cluster XIVa) (5).

An excessive assumption of alcohol and of junk food is known to produce negative alterations of the microbiome.


  1. Arck P, Handjiski B, Hagen E, Pincus M, Bruenahl C, Bienenstock J, Paus R. Is there a 'gut-brain-skin axis'? Exp Dermatol. 2010 May;19(5):401-5.
  2. Bowe WP, Logan AC. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathogens. 2011;3:1.
  3. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, Gootenberg DB, Button JE, Wolfe BE, Ling AV, Devlin AS, Varma Y, Fischbach MA, Biddinger SB, Dutton RJ, Turnbaugh PJ. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-63.
  4. Wu, G.D., et al., Linking long-term dietary patterns with gut microbial enterotypes. Science, 2011. 334(6052): p. 105-108.
  5. Sawicki CM, Livingston KA, Obin M, Roberts SB, Chung M, McKeown NM. Dietary Fiber and the Human Gut Microbiota: Application of Evidence Mapping Methodology. Nutrients. 2017;9(2):125.

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