The importance of the gut microbiome in personalised nutrition


Leatherhead Food Research, Epsom, United Kingdom


As scientific understanding of human microbiota increases, it’s becoming clear that there is a strong link between an individual’s gut microbiome, diet and health. This article considers findings from studies such as The Human Microbiome Project and how they might influence the development of ‘health personalisation’ in the food and beverage industry. It explores the use of prebiotics and probiotics, and how the food microbiologist role could evolve as the industry prepares to meet consumer demand for foods that benefit gut health at an individual level.

Advances in medical research have improved the prognosis for many ‘killer diseases’. There are large efforts now to deliver personalised medicine since it is recognised that individuals vary in their response to illness and medication. And consumers are becoming increasingly aware that the food they eat also plays a key role in maintaining health and vitality.

Health personalisation is a growing area for the food industry. It’s become clear that people have different needs, not just in taste and liking for foods, but in their response to what they eat. Certain foods improve health while others can cause issues. Problem areas include allergies, lactose or gluten intolerance and other digestive problems such as IBS and bloating. Some of these problems are now known to be related to the gut microbiome. So, it’s important to understand how individuals’ diets can affect this microbiome and consequently their health.


Science is just beginning to comprehend the huge importance of human microbiota in health and the immune system. The gut microbiome is the genetic material (DNA/RNA) associated with all organisms present in the human diges ...