Caister Academic Press

Functional Aspects of the Endogenous Microbiota that Benefit the Host

Koen Venema
from: Probiotics and Prebiotics: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Koen Venema and Ana Paula do Carmo). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 221-234.


Over the past 2 or 3 decades we have learned a great deal about our gut microbiota. It is well-established that the microbiota plays a role in just about any disease and disorder that human mankind suffers from. Primarily this is due to the interaction of the microbiota with the host at various levels: i) modulation of the host immune system, which has effects far beyond the local effects in the gut and may reach up to the brain, and ii) production of healthy or toxic microbial metabolites that also may have systemic effects, either directly or after co-metabolism by the host. The composition, and hence the activity of the microbiota, is determined by food and medication. Certain food-components, such as prebiotics, fibers or polyphenols, may lead to production of health-promoting metabolites, while e.g., excess protein may lead to the production or what are generally considered toxic metabolites. Antibiotics and other drugs may influence the (composition and) activity of the microbiota in such as way that the activity has deleterious effects on the host. This review discusses some of the functional aspects of the gut microbiota thought to be important for health of the host. This chapter will review recent insight in the functional role of the microbiota in health and disease read more ...
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