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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The human gut microbiota and glucose metabolism: a scoping review of key bacteria and the potential role of SCFAs

Palmnas-Bedard, Marie S. A.; Costabile, Giuseppina; Vetrani, Claudia; Aberg, Sebastian; Hjalmarsson, Yommine; Dicksved, Johan; Riccardi, Gabriele; Landberg, Rikard


The gut microbiota plays a fundamental role in human nutrition and metabolism and may have direct implications for type 2 diabetes and associated preconditions. An improved understanding of relations between human gut microbiota and glucose metabolism could lead to novel opportunities for type 2 diabetes prevention, but human observational studies reporting on such findings have not been extensively reviewed. Here, we review the literature on associations between gut microbiota and markers and stages of glucose dysregulation and insulin resistance in healthy adults and in adults with metabolic disease and risk factors. We present the current evidence for identified key bacteria and their potential roles in glucose metabolism independent of overweight, obesity, and metabolic drugs. We provide support for SCFAs mediating such effects and discuss the role of diet, as well as metabolites derived from diet and gut microbiota interactions. From 5983 initially identified PubMed records, 45 original studies were eligible and reviewed. alpha Diversity and 45 bacterial taxa were associated with selected outcomes. Six taxa were most frequently associated with glucose metabolism: Akkermansia muciniphila, Bifidobacterium longum, Clostridium leptum group, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Faecalibacterium (inversely associated) and Dorea (directly associated). For Dorea and A. muciniphila, associations were independent of metabolic drugs and body measures. For A. muciniphila and F. prausnitzii, limited evidence supported SCFA mediation of potential effects on glucose metabolism. We conclude that observational studies applying metagenomics sequencing to identify species-level relations are warranted, as are studies accounting for confounding factors and investigating SCFA and postprandial glucose metabolism. Such advances in the field will, together with mechanistic and prospective studies and investigations into diet-gut microbiota interactions, have the potential to bring critical insight into roles of gut microbiota and microbial metabolites in human glucose metabolism and to contribute toward the development of novel prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes, including precision nutrition.


glucose metabolism; gut microbiota; humans; insulin resistance; prediabetes; short-chain fatty acids; microbial metabolites; diet-gut microbiota interactions; type 2 diabetes prevention; precision nutrition

Published in

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2022, volume: 116, number: 4, pages: 862-874

Authors' information

Palmnas-Bedard, Marie S. A.
Chalmers University of Technology
Costabile, Giuseppina
University of Naples Federico II
Vetrani, Claudia
University of Naples Federico II
Aberg, Sebastian
Chalmers University of Technology
Hjalmarsson, Yommine
Chalmers University of Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Riccardi, Gabriele
University of Naples Federico II
Landberg, Rikard
Chalmers University of Technology
Landberg, Rikard
Umea University

Associated SLU-program


Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and well-being

UKÄ Subject classification

Nutrition and Dietetics
Endocrinology and Diabetes

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