Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut microbiome is required for optimal human health, but is frequently limited by the lack of fermentable fiber in the diet. We supplemented the diets of 174 young adults with different prebiotic fibers to determine the relationship between the supplements, the composition of the gut microbiota, and production of SCFAs. Resistant starch from potatoes (RPS) resulted in the greatest increase in total SCFAs, including butyric acid – a SCFA with numerous beneficial effects. Although many microbiomes responded to RPS with blooms of bifidobacteria, those that responded with an increase in Ruminococcus bromii were more likely to generate higher butyrate concentrations, especially when their microbiota were replete with populations of the butyrate-producer Eubacterium rectale. Understanding relationships among gut microbes and their response to dietary inputs is a first step towards managing outputs from the gut microbiota to influence human health.
Sponsored by the Host Microbiome Initiative