Temporal gut microbiota variability and association with dietary patterns: From the one-year observational Diet, Cancer, and Health - Next Generations MAX study
Journal article, 2024

Background: Knowledge about the variability of gut microbiota within an individual over time is important to allow meaningful investigations of the gut microbiota in relation to diet and health outcomes in observational studies. Plant-based dietary patterns have been associated with a lower risk of morbidity and mortality and may alter gut microbiota in a favorable direction. Objectives: To assess the gut microbiota variability during one year and investigate the association between adherence to diet indexes and the gut microbiota in a Danish population. Methods: Four hundred forty-four participants were included in the Diet, Cancer, and Health - Next Generations MAX study (DCH-NG MAX). Stool samples collected up to three times during a year were analyzed by 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequencing. Diet was obtained by 24-hour dietary recalls. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated to assess temporal microbial variability based on 214 individuals. Diet indexes (Nordic, Mediterranean, and plant-based diets) and food groups thereof were associated with gut microbiota using linear regression analyses. Results: We found that 91 out of 234 genera had an ICC >0.5. We identified three subgroups dominated by Bacteroides, Prevotella 9, and Ruminococcaceae and adherence to diet indexes differed between subgroups. Higher adherence to diet indexes was associated with the relative abundance of 22 genera. Across diet indexes, higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grains/cereals, and nuts were most frequently associated with these genera. Conclusions: In the DCH-NG MAX study, 39% of the genera had an ICC >0.5 over one year, suggesting that these genera could be studied with health outcomes in prospective analyses with acceptable precision. Adherence to the Nordic, Mediterranean, and plant-based diets differed between bacterial subgroups and was associated with a higher abundance of genera with fiber-degrading properties. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains/cereals, and nuts were frequently associated with these genera.

temporal variability

unhealthy plant-based diet index

dietary patterns

healthy Nordic food index

plant-based diet index

relative Mediterranean diet score


human gut microbiota

healthy plant-based diet index

provegetarian diet index


Agnetha Rostgaard-Hansen

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Food and Nutrition Science

A. Esberg

Umeå University

Johan Dicksved

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Torben Hansen

Novo Nordisk Foundation

Erik A. Pelve

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Carl Brunius

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Food and Nutrition Science

Jytte Halkjær

Danish Cancer Research Society Center

Anne Tjønneland

University of Copenhagen

Ingegerd Johansson

Umeå University

Rikard Landberg

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Food and Nutrition Science

The American journal of clinical nutrition

00029165 (ISSN) 19383207 (eISSN)

Vol. 119 4 1015-1026

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Subject Categories

Nutrition and Dietetics





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