Grape Expectations: Dietary grapes promote subtle changes in the human microbiome with potential health implications

Several studies have indicated that diet plays a crucial role in maintaining and altering the gut microbiome. In fact, the amount of fats, proteins, phytoestrogens, polyphenols and carbohydrates consumed by an individual affects microbial diversity. Gut microbial population and abundance influence the levels of metabolites, such as acetate, butyrate and propionate, which influence physiological functions.

A recent Scientific reports study investigates how grapes affect the human microbiome.

Study: Influence of grape consumption on the human microbiome. Image Credit: Andrew Hagan/


Six million tons of grapes are produced each year in the United States alone. Several studies have indicated that grape consumption manifests a range of responses associated with inflammation, gastrointestinal health, urinary bladder function, vision, atherosclerosis, and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, mouse models have revealed that dietary grapes have pronounced effects on gene expression that influence various diseases in the liver or brain.

More than 1,600 phytochemical compounds have been identified in grapes which, alone or in combination with other compounds, influence various physiological processes. The most common chemical constituent of a grape is resveratrol, which has been extensively studied.

A previous study demonstrated that human gut microbiota treated with grape seed total led to a change in the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile and related microbial populations. Mice fed a high-fat diet along with grape powder showed increased butyrate-synthesizing microbial populations.

When grape powder was added to a standard mouse diet, the urinary excretion of the gut microbiota metabolites 5-hydroxyindole, gluconic acid, glyceric acid, my-inositol and 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid were attenuated. Conversely, an increase in some metabolites such as scillus-inositol, xylitol, 5-hydroxyindole, gluconic acid, 2′-deoxyribonic acid and mannitol.

In humans, grape consumption can lead to an increase in the alpha diversity index of the gut microbiome. Reductions in total bile acid and cholesterol levels have also been related to grape consumption.

About the study

A total of forty healthy, free-ranging human participants were recruited in this study which was conducted for two months. All participants underwent two weeks of restricted dieting (day 15), two weeks of restricted dieting supplemented with the equivalent of three servings of grapes per day (day 30), and a one-month withdrawal period (day 60). . ).

Subsequently, plasma, urine and stool samples were collected from each participant. Of the forty participants initially recruited for the study, only twenty-nine individuals completed the trial.

Study results

Alpha diversity reflects the relative richness and abundance of the microbial population in the gut. In the present study, no alterations in alpha diversity were observed among male participants aged 24 to 44 years. However, female participants aged 29 to 39 showed a difference in alpha diversity at day 60 compared to day 15.

Principal component analyzes (PCA) and principal coordinate analyzes (PCoA) were used to analyze beta diversity. Based on cluster analysis, no significant differences in beta diversity were observed across the study period, regardless of gender-based subgroup analysis.

The common microbial species found on days 15, 30 and 60 were Faecalibacterium prausnitzi, i Eubacterium rectale, Prevotella cover, Alistipes finegoldii, Fusicatenibacter saccharivorans, Bacteroides vulgato, Alistipes putredinis, Bacteroides stercoris, Parabacteroides merdae, Bacteroides uniformis, Bifidobacterium adolescents, Bacteroides coprocola, AND Collinsella aerofaciens.

Microbial taxonomic analyzes revealed significant microbial alterations at all time points. On day 30, an increased level of Thermophilic streptococcus it was observed.

Previous studies have revealed that this bacterium produces lactic acid in the intestines and is considered a probiotic. Also, a decrease of Holdmania spp. it was observed. A similar microbial profile was recorded in those following a vegetarian diet.

At day 30, an increase in the abundance of Holdmania it has been noticed; however, no change in Thermophilic streptococcus occurred. At day 60, a significant increase in the level of organisms associated with metabolite production was observed. These results indicate a delayed intestinal microbial response to grape consumption, as no microbial alterations were found at day 15.

Consumption of grapes manifested changes in some enzyme levels. For example, an increase in the level of catechol 2,3-dioxygenase, which causes metabolic detoxification, has been observed. Furthermore, a decrease of (3St)-malyl-CoA thioesterase, which affects the glyoxylate cycle of microorganisms.

Compared to day 15, a significant increase in error-prone DNA polymerase was observed on days 30 and 60. These results indicate a delayed effect of grape consumption on enzyme levels.

Compared to day 15, elevated levels of cysteine ​​peptidase and reduced levels of ABC and Narl family transporters were observed on day 30. reported on day 60.


The current study revealed that grape consumption does not alter the eubiotic state of the microbiome that prevails in healthy participants. However, grape consumption alters the taxonomic composition of the microbiome, KEGG pathways, enzyme levels, and metabolic profile. In the future, more research is needed to understand whether these changes have broader health benefits.

Magazine reference:

  • Dave, A., Beyoglu, D., Park, E., et al. (2023) Influence of grape consumption on the human microbiome. Scientific reports 13(7706). doi:10.1038/s41598-023-34813-5

Written by

Dr. Priyom Bose

Priyom holds a PhD. in Plant Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Madras, India. She is an active researcher and an experienced science writer. Priyom is also a co-author of several original research articles that have been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. She is also an avid reader and amateur photographer.


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