Impact of the gut microbiota, prebiotics, and probiotics on human health and disease

Biomed J. 2014 Sep-Oct;37(5):259-68. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.138314.


Recent studies have revealed that the gut microbiota regulates many physiological functions, ranging from energy regulation and cognitive processes to toxin neutralization and immunity against pathogens. Accordingly, alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota have been shown to contribute to the development of various chronic diseases. The main objectives of this review are to present recent breakthroughs in the study of the gut microbiota and show that intestinal bacteria play a critical role in the development of different disease conditions, including obesity, fatty liver disease, and lung infection. We also highlight the potential application of prebiotics and probiotics in maintaining optimal health and treating chronic inflammatory and immunity-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Obesity / immunology*
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Prebiotics / microbiology*
  • Probiotics / isolation & purification*


  • Prebiotics