Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 429–436 | Cite as

Exploring Gut Microbiota Composition as an Indicator of Clinical Response to Dietary FODMAP Restriction in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Jørgen ValeurEmail author
  • Milada Cvancarova Småstuen
  • Torunn Knudsen
  • Gülen Arslan Lied
  • Arne Gustav Røseth
Original Article



A diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) may relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, nutritional counseling is resource-demanding and not all patients will benefit.


To explore whether gut microbial composition may identify symptom response to a low-FODMAP diet in patients with IBS.


Patients were recruited consecutively to participate in a 4-week FODMAP-restricted diet. Response to diet was defined as ≥ 50% decrease in IBS symptom severity scores (IBS-SSS) compared to baseline. Fecal microbiota were analyzed by a commercially available method (the GA-map™ Dysbiosis Test), assessing 54 bacterial markers targeting more than 300 bacteria at different taxonomic levels.


Sixty-one patients (54 F; 7 M) were included: 32 (29 F; 3 M) classified as responders and 29 (25 F; 4 M) as non-responders. Ten of the 54 bacterial markers differed significantly between responders and non-responders. Based on median values (used as cutoff) of responders for these 10 bacterial markers, we constructed a Response Index (RI): Each patient was given a point when the value for each selected bacterial marker differed from the cutoff. These points were summed up, giving an RI from 0 to 10. Patients with RI > 3 were 5 times more likely to respond (OR = 5.05, 95% CI [1.58; 16.10]), and the probability to respond was 83.4%, 95% CI [61.2–94%].


Gut microbial composition, assessed by using a new RI, may constitute a tool to identify patients that are likely to respond to dietary FODMAP restriction.


Clinical nutrition Functional gastrointestinal disorders Gut microbiome Irritable bowel severity scoring system 



The work of the clinical dietician (TK) and the microbial DNA analyses were funded by Genetic Analysis AS, Oslo, Norway. Otherwise, the study was funded by Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Author’s contribution

JV conceived and designed the study, performed the data collection, and wrote the manuscript. MCS performed the statistical analyses and wrote the manuscript. TK guided the patients throughout the dietary intervention. GAL interpreted the data and contributed to critical revision. AR conceived and designed the study, and recruited the patients. All authors reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript to be published.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics (REK Sør-Øst, Reference No. 2013/454) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unger-Vetlesen InstituteLovisenberg Diaconal HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Clinical NutritionLovisenberg Diaconal HospitalOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Medicine, Center for NutritionUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  5. 5.Department of Medicine, Section of GastroenterologyHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  6. 6.Department of MedicineLovisenberg Diaconal HospitalOsloNorway

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