Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells and has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disruption of this population has been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including examples such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer that are highlighted in this review. A logical extension of these observations suggests that the manipulation of the gut microbiota can be employed to prevent or treat these conditions. Thus, here we high light a variety of options, including the use of changes in diet (including the use of prebiotics), antimicrobial-based intervention, probiotics and faecal microbiota transplantation, and discuss their relative merits with respect to modulating the intestinal community in a beneficial way.

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