Man is an intimate symbiosis between 10 trillion human cells and some 100 trillion bacteria, most of which inhabit the intestine where they constitute an extremely dense and diverse microbiota. This symbiotic balance that has to be established within each newborn is key to the maintenance of health and well being. Its development is markedly influenced by microbial exposure encountered very early in life. Mode of infant feeding, and the post-weaning transition to habitual diet will further shape the microbiota. Recent studies support the concept that diet should be viewed as a means to prevent potentially durable alterations of symbiosis observed in immune-mediated metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Non-digestible dietary fiber will play a major role in this context.
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