Interactions between Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Dairy Foods and the Gut Microbiota Influence Cardiovascular Health in an Australian Population.

Nutrients. 2023;15(16)
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Diet is a fundamental determinant of metabolic health and immune regulation. Long-term dietary patterns also play an important role in shaping the intestinal commensal microbiota. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of an-8 week Mediterranean Diet enriched with dairy foods on the gut microbiome of Australian adults at risk of cardiovascular disease. This study was a randomised controlled trial with a 2 × 2 cross-over design. Participants followed a Mediterranean diet with 3–4 daily serves of dairy foods of 1000–1300mg per day (MedDairy) or low-fat diet (LFD) diet intervention for 8 weeks, separated by an 8-week washout phase where participants returned to their habitual diet. Participants (n= 43) were randomly assigned to their first dietary phase. Results showed that compared to the LFD (control), the MedDairy diet did not result in broad changes to the gut microbiota but significantly altered the relative abundance of selected bacterial taxa. Furthermore, microbial changes, including an increase in Butyricicoccus, were inversely correlated with changes in systolic blood pressure. Authors conclude that an 8-week MedDiet supplemented with dairy foods results in relative abundance changes in bacterial taxa.


The impact of a Mediterranean diet on the intestinal microbiome has been linked to its health benefits. We aim to evaluate the effects of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with dairy foods on the gut microbiome in Australians at risk of cardiovascular disease. In a randomised controlled cross-over study, 34 adults with a systolic blood pressure ≥120 mmHg and with risk factors for cardiovascular disease were randomly allocated to a Mediterranean diet with 3-4 daily serves of dairy foods (Australian recommended daily intake (RDI) of 1000-1300 mg per day (MedDairy)) or a low-fat (LFD) control diet. Between each 8-week diet, participants underwent an 8-week washout period. Microbiota characteristics of stool samples collected at the start and end of each diet period were determined by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. MedDairy-associated effects on bacterial relative abundance were correlated with clinical, anthropometric, and cognitive outcomes. No change in the overall faecal microbial structure or composition was observed with either diet (p > 0.05). The MedDairy diet was associated with changes in the relative abundance of several bacterial taxa, including an increase in Butyricicoccus and a decrease in Colinsella and Veillonella (p < 0.05). Increases in Butyricicoccus relative abundance over 8 weeks were inversely correlated with lower systolic blood pressure (r = -0.38, p = 0.026) and positively correlated with changes in fasting glucose levels (r = 0.39, p = 0.019), specifically for the MedDairy group. No significant associations were observed between the altered taxa and anthropometric or cognitive measures (p > 0.05). Compared to a low-fat control diet, the MedDairy diet resulted in changes in the abundance of specific gut bacteria, which were associated with clinical outcomes in adults at risk of CVD.

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