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Yoghurt consumption is associated with changes in the composition of the human gut microbiome and metabolome

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Caroline Ivanne Le Roy, Alexander Kurilshikov, Emily R Leeming, Alessia Visconti, Ruth C E Bowyer, Cristina Menni, Mario Falchi, Hana Koutnikova, Patrick Veiga, Alexandra Zhernakova, Muriel Derrien, Tim D Spector

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Pages (from-to)39
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
PublishedDec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors thanks Marion Poirel for her advises on statistical analysis. They also thank the participant from the TwinsUK cohort for giving their time and samples. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Yoghurt contains live bacteria that could contribute via modulation of the gut microbiota to its reported beneficial effects such as reduced body weight gain and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. To date, the association between yoghurt consumption and the composition of the gut microbiota is underexplored. Here we used clinical variables, metabolomics, 16S rRNA and shotgun metagenomic sequencing data collected on over 1000 predominantly female UK twins to define the link between the gut microbiota and yoghurt-associated health benefits. RESULTS: According to food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), 73% of subjects consumed yoghurt. Consumers presented a healthier diet pattern (healthy eating index: beta = 2.17 ± 0.34; P = 2.72x10-10) and improved metabolic health characterised by reduced visceral fat (beta = -28.18 ± 11.71 g; P = 0.01). According to 16S rRNA gene analyses and whole shotgun metagenomic sequencing approach consistent taxonomic variations were observed with yoghurt consumption. More specifically, we identified higher abundance of species used as yoghurt starters Streptococcus thermophilus (beta = 0.41 ± 0.051; P = 6.14x10-12) and sometimes added Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (beta = 0.30 ± 0.052; P = 1.49x10-8) in the gut of yoghurt consumers. Replication in 1103 volunteers from the LifeLines-DEEP cohort confirmed the increase of S. thermophilus among yoghurt consumers. Using food records collected the day prior to faecal sampling we showed than an increase in these two yoghurt bacteria could be transient. Metabolomics analysis revealed that B. animalis subsp. lactis was associated with 13 faecal metabolites including a 3-hydroxyoctanoic acid, known to be involved in the regulation of gut inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Yoghurt consumption is associated with reduced visceral fat mass and changes in gut microbiome including transient increase of yoghurt-contained species (i.e. S. thermophilus and B. lactis).

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