The gut microbiota (GM) consists of resident commensals and transient microbes conveyed by the diet but little is known about the role of the latter on GM homeostasis. Here we show, by a conjunction of quantitative metagenomics, in silico genome reconstruction and metabolic modeling, that consumption of a fermented milk product containing dairy starters and Bifidobacterium animalis potentiates colonic short chain fatty acids production and decreases abundance of a pathobiont Bilophila wadsworthia compared to a milk product in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, n = 28). The GM changes parallel improvement of IBS state, suggesting a role of the fermented milk bacteria in gut homeostasis. Our data challenge the view that microbes ingested with food have little impact on the human GM functioning and rather provide support for beneficial health effects.
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