Remodelling of the intestinal ecosystem during caloric restriction and fasting

Ducarmon QR, Grundler F, Le Maho Y, Wilhelmi de Toledo F, Zeller G, Habold C, Mesnage R, Trends Microbiol 31 (8) :832-844 (2023).


Benefits of fasting and caloric restriction on host metabolic health are well established, but less is known about the effects on the gut microbiome and how this impacts renewal of the intestinal mucosa. What has been repeatedly shown during fasting, however, is that bacteria utilising host-derived substrates proliferate at the expense of those relying on dietary substrates. Considering the increased recognition of the gut microbiome’s role in maintaining host (metabolic) health, disentangling host-microbe interactions and establishing their physiological relevance in the context of fasting and caloric restriction is crucial. Such insights could aid in moving away from associations of gut bacterial signatures with metabolic diseases consistently reported in observational studies to potentially establishing causality. Therefore, this review aims to summarise what is currently known or still controversial about the interplay between fasting and caloric restriction, the gut microbiome and intestinal tissue physiology.