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Dietary Polyphenols in Relation to Gut Microbiota Composition in Saudi Arabian Females

19 January 2023by Barış Özdinç

Obesity prevalence has been skyrocketing since the 1970s globally, with the Eastern Mediterranean region being no exception.


For instance, obesity is prevalent in 20% of Saudi Arabian adults, with an elevated prevalence in females. The increase of obesity rates in adult females of reproductive age is particularly worrying, given new evidence suggesting links between the nutritional status of mothers and chronic disease risk in newborns. 


In this blog, we’ll explore new research examining the effects of dietary polyphenols on gut microbiota composition in Saudi Arabian females, and how this could be used to promote and support healthier lifestyles.

What’s the link between obesity, dietary polyphenols and the gut microbiome?

Obesity may develop due to different factors such as: genetics, lifestyle, dietary patterns, micronutrient deficiencies and gut microbiome variation. 


Polyphenols may also impact gut microbiota. Hence, dietary polyphenols may have implications for obesity management and treatment. Another factor that may contribute to gut microbiome, obesity and polyphenol interplay is geographical location. However, there is limited information from Saudi Arabian females about the interplay between these factors currently.


In short: obesity is known to be linked to gut microbiome, and so is dietary polyphenol intake. 


For Saudi Arabian females, the interplay between these three factors needs to be better understood in order to inform effective nutrition strategies for obesity management. The study of dietary polyphenols in relation to gut microbiome composition in Saudi Arabian females would be an advanced step towards this goal. 

What does the research say?

To fill the gap in the literature, Alsuhaibani et al. (2023) collected fecal samples from 48 normal BMI and 44 overweight/obese females. Then, the samples were stratified into dietary polyphenol uptake cohorts by median polyphenol intake of 252 mg/1000 kcal per day.


After DNA extraction, paired-end shotgun sequencing was performed on the fecal samples with a read length of 150 base pairs. Next, the microbiota composition was characterized using the CosmosID-HUB bioinformatics platform (CosmosID Inc., Rockville, MD, USA). Unassembled sequencing reads were directly analyzed for multi-kingdom microbiome analysis, profiling of antibiotic resistance and virulence genes, and quantification of the relative abundance of microorganisms. 


In addition, the platform was also used to calculate microbiome alpha-diversity (α-diversity) and beta-diversity (β-diversity) of the cohorts.

What were the latest findings?

The findings of the study suggested that Flavonifractor plautii and Clostridium bolteae were positively correlated with polyphenol intake among all samples (r = 0.22, p = 0.03; r = 0.28, p = 0.01, respectively). Blautia wexlerae was negatively correlated with polyphenol intake (r = −0.56, p < 0.01) in the obese group. There was also an inverse correlation between Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and polyphenol intake (r = −0.45, p = 0.03) in the normal BMI group. Obese subjects with low polyphenol intake, and with high waist-to-hip ratio (WHR; ≥0.83), showed significantly lower alpha-diversity than those in the normal BMI group with normal WHR (<0.83), (p < 0.05). 


These findings suggested that polyphenols were correlated with specific bacteria and may play an important role in the modulation of gut microbiota and obesity management. To read more please see the original research.

How did CosmosID support this research?

CosmosID is proud to have supported Alsuhaibani et al’s work, and looks forward to helping many more researchers as they explore the fascinating relationships between diet and microbiome composition.


Using the CosmosID Hub, researchers could access an integrated bioinformatics platform that supports the analysis of metagenomic sequencing data. The intuitive, user-friendly interface enabled the researchers to quickly map and analyze their samples with relative ease.


The results of the study indicate that dietary polyphenols can help guide nutritional strategies for more effective management of obesity in Saudi Arabian females, especially when taken in context with gut microbiome composition. 


Future research should look to explore the effects of dietary polyphenols on gut microbiota, and their implications for obesity management, in more depth to paint a fuller picture of this interplay.

Discover the benefits of using CosmosID for your research…

CosmosID is revolutionizing microbiome research by making cutting-edge microbiome sequencing and custom bioinformatics tools available to researchers around the world. Our easy-to-use platform provides a comprehensive suite of analysis tools that can be used to generate detailed reports and visualizations of microbiome data.


Whether you’re studying the effects of diet on microbiota composition, researching microbial diversity in different environments, or looking to develop new diagnostic tests for infection-based diseases, CosmosID provides an efficient and cost-effective way of performing high-quality research with accurate results.

Enquire today to learn more about how CosmosID can support your research needs!

Barış Özdinç

Barış Özdinç analyzes microbiome research with his educational background in genetics and evolution. As a research analyst for CosmosID, he combines metagenomics and data analyses to identify microbial biomarkers in disease cohorts and evaluate microbiome research tools. His work involves curating microbiome data and creating interesting microbiome content for newsletters and blog posts. Barış Özdinç received his bachelor’s degree in genetics and master’s degree in biodiversity, evolution, and conservation from University College London (UCL). Currently, he lives in Istanbul, Turkey, where he lives with his cat, Delight, and mentors female students in their STEM career pursuits.