Christensenellaceae: Everything you need to know

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

In this blog entitled ‘Christensenellaceae: Everything You Need To Know’ I am going to discuss the bacteria Christensenellaceae. What is it connected with? How do we increase it? Is there is a Christensenellaceae probiotic or supplement?

Before we start, other blogs that you might be interested in, include:

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In a meta-analysis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that included over 3000 individuals, Mancabelli et al. reported Christensenellaceae as one of five taxa considered a signature of a healthy gut

Christensenellaceae Are Linked To Metabolic Health

Body mass index (BMI) was the first host phenotype associated with the relative abundance of this bacteria in the gut. Goodrich et al. observed that it was significantly enriched in individuals with a normal BMI (18.5–24.9) compared to obese individuals (BMI ≥ 30). Since this initial observation, the association of Christensenellaceae with a normal BMI has been corroborated repeatedly in populations from a number of countries that included adult men and women of various ages. Consistent with its association with leanness, Christensenellaceae have been shown to increase after diet-induced weight loss.

The link between Christensenellaceae and BMI therefore stands as the strongest corroborated association between the gut microbiome and BMI.

Christensenellaceae is reported as depleted in individuals with metabolic syndrome (MetS) compared to healthy controls. In addition to excess visceral fat, MetS includes other risk factors such as dyslipidemia and impaired glucose metabolism, and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Christensenellaceae was identified in a cohort of 441 Colombians as positively associated with a lower cardiometabolic risk score, and others report it is negatively correlated with blood pressure, which is often elevated in MetS. It has also been associated with healthy glucose metabolism and it has been found to be reduced in individuals with pre-type 2 diabetes

Christensenellaceae And Longevity

It has been associated with human longevity, based on the observation that the relative abundance of the bacteria is greater in centenarians and supercentenarians in comparison to younger individuals in populations in China, Italy, and Korea.

Positive associations of Christensenellaceae with age have also emerged from studies with relatively young individuals across multiple geographic locations.

Christensenellaceae, Inflammation & Transit Time

Christensenellaceae were consistently depleted in individuals with Crohn’s disease  and ulcerative colitis, the two major sub-types of IBD. In irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a gastrointestinal disorder characterised by abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements, a higher relative abundance of Christensenellaceae in healthy controls relative to individuals with IBS has been reported in several studies. Several studies have also noted a positive correlation of Christensenellaceae and longer transit time or even constipation.

Thus, the Christensenellaceae appear to be depleted in conditions associated with inflammation and fast transit time.

Given Christensenellaceae’s link with transit time, it is perhaps not surprising that the family has been linked to affective disorders that impact gut motility. For instance, gastric dysfunction, particularly constipation, affects approximately two-thirds of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Studies have noted a greater relative abundance of Christensenellaceae in PD and MS patients relative to healthy controls.

Since diet is also related to gut transit time, the effects of diet, host status, and host genetics remain to be carefully disentangled to better understand how levels of the Christensenellaceae are controlled.

Christensenellaceae & Genetics

That individuals are genetically predisposed to harbor a high or low relative abundance of these bacteria may be a generalizable human trait.

A remarkable 40% of the variation between individuals in the relative abundance of the family could be attributed to host genetic factors.

How Do You Increase Christensenellaceae And What Foods Increase It?

It’s very hard to get this specific, both specific bacteria and what influences them, and what specific foods might be most beneficial.

It appears to be responsive to diet, and evidence points to a role in protein and fiber fermentation. On a coarse level, large-scale diet studies have associated Christensenellaceae with healthy dietary habits low in refined sugar and high in consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Christensenellaceae is reported higher in relative abundance in humans with an omnivorous diet, relative to vegetarians, and has also been associated with dairy consumption. In a more direct link, Christ. has been shown to respond rapidly to an increase in animal products in the diet. Furthermore, Christ. has been positively associated with gut metabolites typical of protein catabolism and dietary animal protein. It has also been reported to increase in human dietary interventions involving prebiotic fibers such as resistant starch 4, galacto-oligosaccharide, and polydextrose.

Taken together, these studies indicate that the association of Christensenellaceae with health parameters may in part be due to its association with a diet high in protein and fiber.

What Supplement For Christensenellaceae?

The prebiotic GOS (click here), and resistant starch (click here) has been shown to increase it..


It is a relatively new bacterial family that is thought to be highly heritable and shows strong associations with human health. Its strong ties to health have led to the suggestion that Christensenellaceae should be considered for use as probiotics for the improvement of human health.

However, its functional role in the gut remains to be understood even with the long collection of associations with human health. Further research is required.


  • The human gut bacteria Christ. are widespread, heritable, and associated with health: click here.
  • Regional distribution of Christ and its associations with metabolic syndrome based on a population-level analysis: click here.
  • Human genetics shape the gut microbiome: click here.
  • Syntrophy via Interspecies H 2 Transfer between Christ and Methanobrevibacter Underlies Their Global Cooccurrence in the Human Gut: click here.
  • Modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet modulates gut microbiome and short-chain fatty acids in association with Alzheimer’s disease markers in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: click here.
  • Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease medications have distinct signatures of the gut microbiome: click here
  • Differences in Gut Microbiota in Patients With vs Without Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Systematic Review: click here.
  • Unraveling gut microbiota in Parkinson’s disease and atypical parkinsonism: click here.
  • Probiotic or synbiotic alters the gut microbiota and metabolism in a randomised controlled trial of weight management in overweight adults: click here.
  • Shifts on Gut Microbiota Associated to Mediterranean Diet Adherence and Specific Dietary Intakes on General Adult Population: click here.
  • The human gut bacteria Christensenellaceae are widespread, heritable, and associated with health: click here.
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Alex is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFMCP) and has a MSc in Personalised Nutrition. He is also a breathwork facilitator with a background in personal training and massage therapy. He also runs The Resiliency Program - a 24 week program aimed at building physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience.

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