Fruit juice and the gut microbiome

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Fruit juice and the gut microbiome

1 min read

As we learn more about the gut microbiome, it appears that a diverse, balanced microbiome is essential for good health throughout life.

The gut microbiome consists of an ecosystem of microbes (bacteria, yeast, viruses, archaea etc) which exists within our digestive tract, primarily in the large intestine. New research is providing a better understanding of which foods can beneficially alter the balance of microbes in our gut microbiome.

The polyphenols found in fruit juices are thought to have a potential prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome because 'good' species of bacteria can metabolise polyphenols into smaller compounds which helps to support their growth and abundance. Citrus flavanones, such as hesperidin and naringin, found in 100% orange juice have been studied for their effects on the gut microbiome.

One small trial in healthy volunteers found that daily consumption of 300ml orange juice for 2 months increased the numbers of potentially beneficial bacterial species found in faeces, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and also boosted production of short chain fatty acids – bacterial metabolites linked with health effects [1].

Another study found that drinking only fruit juice for 3 days altered the composition of the gut microbiome, such as a relative increase in faecal Bacteroides species, which has been associated with a lower body weight in humans [2].

Similar shifts to a greater abundance of faecal Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium along with a reduction in Firmicutes were found in a more recent human trial where participants consumed 190ml of 100% orange juice twice daily for 8 weeks [3].

In conclusion, although more research is needed to fully understand the links between our diet and the gut microbiome, early evidence tells us that 100% fruit juices could have a positive effect on the balance of the microbes in our gut.



1.    Lima ACD et al. (2019)

2.    Henning SM et al. (2017).

3.    Park M et al. (2020).