Prevotella: Why Context Matters

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

In this blog entitled ‘Prevotella: Context Matters!’ I am going to discuss the bacteria Prevotella with the aim of highlighting how this bacteria influences both health and disease, why the contradictory findings and how we can modify it via dietary changes.

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

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The role of intestinal Prevotella species in human health is controversial, with both positive and negative associations.

Increased abundance of members of Prevotella genus within microbial communities colonizing distinct mucosal surfaces has been found in individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, metabolic disorders, and intestinal and vaginal dysbiosis.

The reason for the contradictory findings over Prevotella’s role in health and disease is partly because it possesses a high genetic diversity, representing one of the important groups found in the oral cavity microbiome and large intestine microbiome (8).

Prevotella And Blood Sugar Metabolism

Prevotella plays a role in the prebiotic-induced improvement in glucose metabolism observed in certain individuals, potentially by promoting increased glycogen storage (2).

Prevotella And Weight Loss

Interestingly in another study healthy, overweight adults with high Prevotella abundances lost more weight than subjects with low Prevotella abundances when consuming a diet rich in whole-grain and fiber (5).

Another paper discusses that the key to successful weight loss on a high-fiber diet may be in gut microbiome prevotella abundance (6)

Prevotella Copri And Rheumatoid Arthritis

An example of a specific strain of Prevotella that has been associated with disease is Prevotella Copri, which has been associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a prevalent systemic autoimmune disease, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Animal models suggest a role for intestinal bacteria in supporting the systemic immune response required for joint inflammation (3).

Colonisation of mice revealed the ability of P. copri to dominate the intestinal microbiome and resulted in an increased sensitivity to chemically induced colitis (inflammation).

This work identifies a potential role for P. copri in the pathogenesis of Rheumatoid arthritis (3).

Another paper concluded: Prevotella species enrichment in individuals in pre-clinical stages of Rheumatoid arthritis, before the onset of Rheumatoid arthritis, suggests a role of intestinal dysbiosis in the development of Rheumatoid arthritis.

How Do I Increase Prevotella?

Prevotella is modifiable via dietary changes. Primarily through an increase in carbohydrate consumption, ideally coming from high fibre foods. Examples include:

  • Wholegrains
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Pulses
  • Beans

We know this because it contributes to polysaccharide breakdown, and thus has been found to be a dominant coloniser of agrarian societies (8).

Long-term adherence to a high-fibre, polyphenol-enriched and vegetable-protein-based diet provides benefits for the composition of faecal microbiota, and may offer potential therapies for improvement of glycaemic control, dyslipidaemia and inflammation (11).

How Do I Test For Prevotella

A comprehensive gut test, like that available from Healthpath, will evaluate for this bacteria.

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Conclusion: Prevotella Why Context Matters

Prevotella is a family of bacteria and it may be that different strains have different properties. It does seem to have a role to play in certain conditions such as metabolic health and rheumatoid arthritis but further research is required to understand these relationships.


  1. Interpreting Prev. and Bacteroides as biomarkers of diet and lifestyle: click here.
  2. Dietary Fiber-Induced Improvement in Glucose Metabolism Is Associated with Increased Abundance of Prevotella: click here.
  3. Expansion of intestinal Prev. copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis: click here.
  4. Distinct Genetic and Functional Traits of Human Intestinal Prev. copri Strains Are Associated with Different Habitual Diets: click here.
  5. Prev. Abundance Predicts Weight Loss Success in Healthy, Overweight Adults Consuming a Whole-Grain Diet Ad Libitum: A Post Hoc Analysis of a 6-Wk Randomized Controlled Trial: click here.
  6. The Key to Successful Weight Loss on a High-Fiber Diet May Be in Gut Microbiome Prev. Abundance: click here.
  7. Modulation of inflammatory responses by gastrointestinal Prev. spp. – From associations to functional studies: click here.
  8. Gut Prev. as a possible biomarker of diet and its eubiotic versus dysbiotic roles: a comprehensive literature review: click here.
  9. Evidence of the Immune Relevance of Prev. copri, a Gut Microbe, in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis: click here
  10. The gut-joint axis in rheumatoid arthritis: click here.
  11. A dietary intervention with functional foods reduces metabolic endotoxaemia and attenuates biochemical abnormalities by modifying faecal microbiota in people with type 2 diabetes: click here.
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