BACKGROUND: Polyphenol consumption is implicated in gut microbiome composition and improved metabolic outcomes, but it is unclear whether the effect is independent of dietary fiber.

METHODS: We investigated the links between (poly)phenol intake, gut microbiome composition (16s RNA) and obesity independently of fiber intake in UK women (n = 1810) and in a small group of UK men (n = 64).

RESULTS: (Poly)phenol intakes correlated with microbiome alpha diversity (Shannon Index) after adjusting for confounders and fiber intake. Moreover, flavonoid intake was significantly correlated with the abundance of Veillonella, (a genus known to improve physical performance), and stilbene intake with that of butyrate-producing bacteria (Lachnospira and Faecalibacterium). Stilbene and flavonoid intake also correlated with lower odds of prevalent obesity (Stilbenes: Odds Ratio (95% Confidence Interval) (OR(95%CI)) = 0.80 (0.73, 0.87), p = 4.90 × 10-7; Flavonoids: OR(95%CI) = 0.77 (0.65, 0.91), p = 0.002). Formal mediation analyses revealed that gut microbiome mediates ~11% of the total effect of flavonoid and stilbene intake on prevalent obesity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight the importance of (poly)phenol consumption for optimal human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1871
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020


  • Fiber intake
  • Flavonoid intake
  • Gut microbiome composition
  • Gut microbiome diversity
  • Obesity
  • Polyphenol intake
  • Stilbene intake


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