Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Effects of a Mediterranean diet on the gut microbiota and microbial metabolites: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials and observational studies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rachel Kimble, Phebee Gouinguenet, Ammar Ashor, Dr Christopher StewartORCiD, Dr Fiona MalcomsonORCiD, Aj Joel, Dr David Houghton, Professor Emma Stevenson, Dr Mario Siervo, Dr Oliver Shannon, Professor John Mathers



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor & Francis Inc. , 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Consumption of the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MedDiet) is associated with reduced risk of numerous non-communicable diseases. Modulation of the composition and metabolism of the gut microbiota represents a potential mechanism through which the MedDiet elicits these effects. We conducted a systematic literature search (Prospero registration: CRD42020168977) using PubMed, The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscuss, Scopus and CINAHL databases for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies exploring the impact of a MedDiet on gut microbiota composition (i.e., relative abundance of bacteria or diversity metrics) and metabolites (e.g., short chain fatty acids). Seventeen RCTs and 17 observational studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. Risk of bias across the studies was mixed but mainly identified as low and unclear. Overall, RCTs and observational studies provided no clear evidence of a consistent effect of a MedDiet on composition or metabolism of the gut microbiota. These findings may be related to the diverse methods across studies (e.g., MedDiet classification and analytical techniques), cohort characteristics, and variable quality of studies. Further, well-designed studies are warranted to advance understanding of the potential effects of the MedDiet using more detailed examination of microbiota and microbial metabolites with reference to emerging characteristics of a healthy gut microbiome.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kimble R, Gouinguenet P, Ashor A, Stewart C, Deighton K, Matu J, Griffiths A, Malcomson FC, Joel A, Houghton D, Stevenson E, Minihane AE, Siervo M, Shannon OM, Mathers JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Year: 2022

Issue: ePub ahead of Print

Online publication date: 01/04/2022

Acceptance date: 21/03/2022

Date deposited: 28/03/2022

ISSN (print): 1040-8398

ISSN (electronic): 1549-7852

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.


DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2057416

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/bns8-3619


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric