The human gut microbiome and body metabolism: implications for obesity and diabetes

Clin Chem. 2013 Apr;59(4):617-28. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2012.187617. Epub 2013 Feb 11.


Background: Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes are major public health challenges. Recently, interest has surged regarding the possible role of the intestinal microbiota as potential novel contributors to the increased prevalence of these 3 disorders.

Content: Recent advances in microbial DNA sequencing technologies have resulted in the widespread application of whole-genome sequencing technologies for metagenomic DNA analysis of complex ecosystems such as the human gut. Current evidence suggests that the gut microbiota affect nutrient acquisition, energy harvest, and a myriad of host metabolic pathways.

Conclusion: Advances in the Human Microbiome Project and human metagenomics research will lead the way toward a greater understanding of the importance and role of the gut microbiome in metabolic disorders such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Metagenome*
  • Obesity / microbiology*


  • Amino Acids