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People are increasingly aware of the role of vegetarian diets in modulating human gut microbial abundance and intestinal physiology. A plant-based diet is thought to benefit host health by contributing to establish a diverse and stable microbiome. In addition, microbe-derived metabolites of specific nutrients known to be abundant in vegetarian diets (such as indigestible carbohydrates, arginine, and others) are important to promote effective intestinal immune responses, maintain intestinal barrier function, and protect against pathogens. This review explores the characteristics of the gut microbiome formed by vegetarian diets and the effects of diet-associated nutrients on intestinal microbial abundance. The interactions between the microbe-derived metabolites of vegetarian diet-associated nutrients and intestinal physiology are also discussed.

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Effects of vegetarian diet-associated nutrients on gut microbiota and intestinal physiology

Show Author's information Wei Xiaoa,bQingsong Zhanga,bLeilei Yua,b,cFengwei Tiana,b,cWei Chena,b,d,eQixiao Zhaia,b,c( )
State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
School of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
International Joint Research Laboratory for Probiotics at Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122 China
National Engineering Research Center for Functional Food, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
Beijing Innovation Center of Food Nutrition and Human Health, Beijing Technology and Business University (BTBU), Beijing 100048, China

Peer review under responsibility of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd.


People are increasingly aware of the role of vegetarian diets in modulating human gut microbial abundance and intestinal physiology. A plant-based diet is thought to benefit host health by contributing to establish a diverse and stable microbiome. In addition, microbe-derived metabolites of specific nutrients known to be abundant in vegetarian diets (such as indigestible carbohydrates, arginine, and others) are important to promote effective intestinal immune responses, maintain intestinal barrier function, and protect against pathogens. This review explores the characteristics of the gut microbiome formed by vegetarian diets and the effects of diet-associated nutrients on intestinal microbial abundance. The interactions between the microbe-derived metabolites of vegetarian diet-associated nutrients and intestinal physiology are also discussed.

Keywords: Vegetarian diet, Gut microbiota, Microbial metabolites, Intestinal physiology



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Received: 24 December 2020
Revised: 30 January 2021
Accepted: 17 February 2021
Published: 25 November 2021
Issue date: March 2022


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