Various disease states are associated with an imbalance of protective and pathogenic bacteria in the gut, termed dysbiosis. Current evidence reveals that dietary factors affect the microbial ecosystem in the gut. Changes to community structure of the intestinal microbiota are not without consequence considering the wide effects that the microbes have on both local and systemic immunity. The goal of this review is to give insight into the importance of gut microbiota in disease development and the possible therapeutic interventions in clinical settings. We introduce the complex tripartite relationship between diet, microbes and the gut epithelium. This is followed by a summary of clinical evidence of diet-induced dysbiosis as a contributing factor in the development of gastrointestinal diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer, as well as systemic diseases like obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Finally, the current dietary and microbial interventions to promote a healthy microbial profile will be reviewed.
© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.