The role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health

Harry J. Flint*, Karen P. Scott, Petra Louis, Sylvia H. Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

653 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The microbial communities that colonize different regions of the human gut influence many aspects of health. In the healthy state, they contribute nutrients and energy to the host via the fermentation of nondigestible dietary components in the large intestine, and a balance is maintained with the host's metabolism and immune system. Negative consequences, however, can include acting as sources of inflammation and infection, involvement in gastrointestinal diseases, and possible contributions to diabetes mellitus and obesity. Major progress has been made in defining some of the dominant members of the microbial community in the healthy large intestine, and in identifying their roles in gut metabolism. Furthermore, it has become clear that diet can have a major influence on microbial community composition both in the short and long term, which should open up new possibilities for health manipulation via diet. Achieving better definition of those dominant commensal bacteria, community profiles and system characteristics that produce stable gut communities beneficial to health is important. The extent of interindividual variation in microbiota composition within the population has also become apparent, and probably influences individual responses to drug administration and dietary manipulation. This Review considers the complex interplay between the gut microbiota, diet and health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-589
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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Large Intestine
Health
Diet
Gastrointestinal Diseases
Microbiota
Fermentation
Immune System
Diabetes Mellitus
Obesity
Inflammation
Bacteria
Food
Gastrointestinal Microbiome
Infection
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Population

Keywords

  • irritable-bowel-syndrome
  • formula-fed infants
  • 16S ribosomal-RNA
  • butyrate-producing bacteria
  • chain fatty-acids
  • Faecalibacterium-Prausnitzii
  • human intestinal microbiota
  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • human colonic microbiota
  • in-situ hybridization

Cite this

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title = "The role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health",
abstract = "The microbial communities that colonize different regions of the human gut influence many aspects of health. In the healthy state, they contribute nutrients and energy to the host via the fermentation of nondigestible dietary components in the large intestine, and a balance is maintained with the host's metabolism and immune system. Negative consequences, however, can include acting as sources of inflammation and infection, involvement in gastrointestinal diseases, and possible contributions to diabetes mellitus and obesity. Major progress has been made in defining some of the dominant members of the microbial community in the healthy large intestine, and in identifying their roles in gut metabolism. Furthermore, it has become clear that diet can have a major influence on microbial community composition both in the short and long term, which should open up new possibilities for health manipulation via diet. Achieving better definition of those dominant commensal bacteria, community profiles and system characteristics that produce stable gut communities beneficial to health is important. The extent of interindividual variation in microbiota composition within the population has also become apparent, and probably influences individual responses to drug administration and dietary manipulation. This Review considers the complex interplay between the gut microbiota, diet and health.",
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author = "Flint, {Harry J.} and Scott, {Karen P.} and Petra Louis and Duncan, {Sylvia H.}",
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AU - Louis, Petra

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N2 - The microbial communities that colonize different regions of the human gut influence many aspects of health. In the healthy state, they contribute nutrients and energy to the host via the fermentation of nondigestible dietary components in the large intestine, and a balance is maintained with the host's metabolism and immune system. Negative consequences, however, can include acting as sources of inflammation and infection, involvement in gastrointestinal diseases, and possible contributions to diabetes mellitus and obesity. Major progress has been made in defining some of the dominant members of the microbial community in the healthy large intestine, and in identifying their roles in gut metabolism. Furthermore, it has become clear that diet can have a major influence on microbial community composition both in the short and long term, which should open up new possibilities for health manipulation via diet. Achieving better definition of those dominant commensal bacteria, community profiles and system characteristics that produce stable gut communities beneficial to health is important. The extent of interindividual variation in microbiota composition within the population has also become apparent, and probably influences individual responses to drug administration and dietary manipulation. This Review considers the complex interplay between the gut microbiota, diet and health.

AB - The microbial communities that colonize different regions of the human gut influence many aspects of health. In the healthy state, they contribute nutrients and energy to the host via the fermentation of nondigestible dietary components in the large intestine, and a balance is maintained with the host's metabolism and immune system. Negative consequences, however, can include acting as sources of inflammation and infection, involvement in gastrointestinal diseases, and possible contributions to diabetes mellitus and obesity. Major progress has been made in defining some of the dominant members of the microbial community in the healthy large intestine, and in identifying their roles in gut metabolism. Furthermore, it has become clear that diet can have a major influence on microbial community composition both in the short and long term, which should open up new possibilities for health manipulation via diet. Achieving better definition of those dominant commensal bacteria, community profiles and system characteristics that produce stable gut communities beneficial to health is important. The extent of interindividual variation in microbiota composition within the population has also become apparent, and probably influences individual responses to drug administration and dietary manipulation. This Review considers the complex interplay between the gut microbiota, diet and health.

KW - irritable-bowel-syndrome

KW - formula-fed infants

KW - 16S ribosomal-RNA

KW - butyrate-producing bacteria

KW - chain fatty-acids

KW - Faecalibacterium-Prausnitzii

KW - human intestinal microbiota

KW - gradient gel-electrophoresis

KW - human colonic microbiota

KW - in-situ hybridization

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