CABALA_DIET&HEALTH is a project funded through the European Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) ERA-Healthy diet for healthy life (HDHL). It aims to test whether the enterohepatic circulation of BA and their blood profile constitute a novel biomarker of health responsive to both diet and gut microbiota composition.
The project is co-ordinated by Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Italy, and includes partners from the United Kingdom (University of Reading, UoR), Italy (Università degli Studi dell’insubria, UDSI) and the Republic of Ireland (University College Cork, UCC), and has Ben Gurion University of Negev (BGU) in Israel as a collaborator.

Circulating bile acids (BA) influence several processes linked to metabolic disease, such as inflammation, fat metabolism, glucose homeostasis and energy balance, through cell signalling receptors FXR and TGR5. The gut microbiota modulates the enterohepatic circulation of BA and microbially produced secondary BA appear to be more potent receptor agonists than primary BA, providing a mechanistic link between microbiome function and regulation of host physiology.


CABALA_DIET&HEALTH will conduct four main studies, specifically:

  • RANDOMIZED CONTROL DIETARY INTERVENTION TRIALS: using samples available from existing studies (FEM, UDSI), the project aims to correlate the circulation of BA profiles with metabolic health indicators, such as BMI, insulin/glucose and lipid homeostasis (UDSI), diet and gut microbiota composition (FEM).
  • MICROBIOTA MODULATIONG AND POSTPRANDIAL STUDY: a bespoke dietary intervention (UoR) to delineate how changes in gut microbiota induced by chronic (8 weeks) ingestion of probiotic, prebiotic or polyphenol influences both fasted and postprandial profiles of circulating BA.
  • CELL SIGNALLING EXPERIMENTS: will measure the potential of different mixtures of BA to regulate host immune and metabolic pathways using cell culture models (UCC).
  • LONG-TERM DIET AND LIFESTYLE INTERVENTION STUDY: we will measure changes in circulating BA profiles, microbiota and physiological measures after 18 months high adherence to Mediterranean Diet enriched with polyphenols and coupled with increased physical activity (BGU).