Effects of a low FODMAP diet on gut microbiota in individuals with treated coeliac disease having persistent gastrointestinal symptoms - a randomised controlled trial.

The British journal of nutrition. 2023;130(12):2061-2075

Plain language summary

Coeliac disease (CeD) is a common immune-mediated disease where intolerance to gluten can lead to severe health problems with a wide range of gastrointestinal (GI) and extra-intestinal symptoms. Research shows that a diet low in fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) helps to reduce GI symptoms in irritable-bowel syndrome and gluten-free diet treated CeD. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a low FODMAP diet (LFD) in this patient group affects (i) the faecal microbiota, (ii) the concentrations of faecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and (iii) the concentrations of faecal human neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (a biomarker of gut inflammation). This study is part of a clinical trial which followed a nonblinded, parallel randomised design. The participants were randomised to either an LFD group or a control group. Results showed that after four weeks, certain differences in gut microbiota were detected between the control and LFD group. The SCFA results indicated that the LFD resulted in lower concentrations of propionic and valeric acid in participants with initially high concentrations. Biomarker of gut inflammation was, however, unaffected by the LFD. Authors conclude that the LFD led to changes in overall community structure of the faecal microbiota, with a possible unfavourable low faecal abundance of Anaerostipes, and low concentrations of the faecal SCFA propionic and valeric acid in participants with high concentrations of these acids at baseline.


Individuals with coeliac disease (CeD) often experience gastrointestinal symptoms despite adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD). While we recently showed that a diet low in fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) successfully provided symptom relief in GFD-treated CeD patients, there have been concerns that the low FODMAP diet (LFD) could adversely affect the gut microbiota. Our main objective was therefore to investigate whether the LFD affects the faecal microbiota and related variables of gut health. In a randomised controlled trial GFD-treated CeD adults, having persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, were randomised to either consume a combined LFD and GFD (n 39) for 4 weeks or continue with GFD (controls, n 36). Compared with the control group, the LFD group displayed greater changes in the overall faecal microbiota profile (16S rRNA gene sequencing) from baseline to follow-up (within-subject β-diversity, P < 0·001), characterised by lower and higher follow-up abundances (%) of genus Anaerostipes (Pgroup < 0·001) and class Erysipelotrichia (Pgroup = 0·02), respectively. Compared with the control group, the LFD led to lower follow-up concentrations of faecal propionic and valeric acid (GC-FID) in participants with high concentrations at baseline (Pinteraction ≤ 0·009). No differences were found in faecal bacterial α-diversity (Pgroup ≥ 0·20) or in faecal neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (ELISA), a biomarker of gut integrity and inflammation (Pgroup = 0·74), between the groups at follow-up. The modest effects of the LFD on the gut microbiota and related variables in the CeD patients of the present study are encouraging given the beneficial effects of the LFD strategy to treat functional GI symptoms (Registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03678935).

Lifestyle medicine

Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Gut microbiota
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Stool

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 3
Allocation concealment : Yes