top of page

Microbiome and Diet Study

And how does it relate to what you eat?

The microbiome is the community of bugs that live within the human gut. They are exposed to the food that we digest each day, and they also help us break-down some foods. We don't fully understand how the food in our diets affect the members of the microbiome community.


Our research group wants to better understand the relationship between what we eat and the microbiome. To do this, we need lots of daily samples from healthy people and detailed infromation about what they eat each day and how they respond to a controlled dietary intervention.

This research study will be part of a citizen science course at the University of Minnesota.

What is your microbiome?

Our Study

We are conducting a research study to determine the effect of normal dietary intake on the microbiome and how supplemeting the diet with a specific type of fat called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs changes the microbiome.

To do this, we will monitor the way your microbiome changes over a week as you eat your normal diet. Then you will supplement your diet with either MCTs or olive oil for 10 days and we will continue to monitor your diet and microbiome over this period.

If you are also taking the optional citizen science class, you will learn to analyze microbiome data including the data we gather from this study. 

At the end of the course related to this study, you can choose to recieve a personalized report about your own microbiome and diet.

What will I do during the study?

If you are enrolled in the study you will do the following: 

Week 1 (days 1-7):

  • ​Eat and drink normally and keep detailed dietary records using a online application

  • Collect one stool sample per day

Week 2 (days 8-17):

  • Take a dietary supplement of either coconut oil or olive oil for 10 days (this is the dietary intervention)

  • Continuine eating normally and keep dietary records using an online application

  • Collect one stool sample per day

  • Have your blood drawn once before and once after the dietary intervention

  • Collect your urine for 24-hours once before and once after the dietary intervention

Who Can Join?

We are looking for healthy adult volunteers who are over 18 years old. 

You cannot participate in the study if any of the following are true:

  • You have type I diabetes or insulin depended type II diabetes (or your doctor has told you you are at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis)

  • You currently eat a ketogenic diet

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

  • You have used antibiotics in the last 6 months

  • Your doctor has told you you have liver disease such as cirrhosis or fatty liver

If you are a U of M student you can enroll in the course accompanying this study regardless of if you qualify for or choose to participate in the research study.

If you don't qualify to take the course you can still complete the research study to find out what is in your microbiome!

Why Join?

You will not be payed if you participate in this study. All volunteers can receive personalized reports on the composition of their own microbiome and normal dietary intake.


If you also choose to take the personalized microbiome course you will learn the ways that computational biologists use microbiome data to answer research questions. 

bottom of page