Microbiota and omega-3


Gut microbiota (formerly called gut flora) is the name given to the microbe population living in our intestine. Our gut microbiota includes at least 1000 bacteria types, and can weigh up to 2 kg. One third of it is common to most people, but two thirds are specific to each one of us; in general, it varies according to sex, age, and geographical origin of the person. Gut microbiota has key functions to maintain an optimal health: It helps the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest, to produce some vitamins, and to fight against aggressions from other microorganisms. 70% of our immune cells and more than 100 million neurons connected with the brain live in our intestine. We are all born without microbes in our intestine, but intestine colonization starts immediately after birth and follows as we grow. So, the composition of the microbiota is influenced by environmental factors such as diet, antibiotic therapy, and environmental exposure to microorganisms. But diet appears to have the largest effect, and is considered to influence gut microbiota diversity and functionality.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have beneficial health effects, are among the dietary factors, and it is believed that their beneficial effects may be mediated through changes in gut microbiota composition. An omega-3 rich diet can produce positive changes in the gut microbiota, and that may explain its health benefits in several chronic disorders which have been associated with changes in the microbiota.

Omega-3 could play an important role in the treatment of these chronic disorders as a gut microbiota modulator.



  • Noriega BS, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Salyakina D et al. Understanding the Impact of Omega-3 Rich Diet on the Gut Microbiota. Case Rep Med. 2016;2016:3089303. doi: 10.1155/2016/3089303. Epub 2016 Mar 14.