Probiotics and Prebiotics: Present Status and Future Perspectives on Metabolic Disorders

Nutrients. 2016 Mar 18;8(3):173. doi: 10.3390/nu8030173.


Metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), present an increasing public health concern and can significantly undermine an individual's quality of life. The relative risk of CVD, the primary cause of death in T2DM patients, is two to four times higher in people with T2DM compared with those who are non-diabetic. The prevalence of metabolic disorders has been associated with dynamic changes in dietary macronutrient intake and lifestyle changes over recent decades. Recently, the scientific community has considered alteration in gut microbiota composition to constitute one of the most probable factors in the development of metabolic disorders. The altered gut microbiota composition is strongly conducive to increased adiposity, β-cell dysfunction, metabolic endotoxemia, systemic inflammation, and oxidative stress. Probiotics and prebiotics can ameliorate T2DM and CVD through improvement of gut microbiota, which in turn leads to insulin-signaling stimulation and cholesterol-lowering effects. We analyze the currently available data to ascertain further potential benefits and limitations of probiotics and prebiotics in the treatment of metabolic disorders, including T2DM, CVD, and other disease (obesity). The current paper explores the relevant contemporary scientific literature to assist in the derivation of a general perspective of this broad area.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases (CVD); gut microbiota; metabolic disorders; prebiotics; probiotics; type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / microbiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / microbiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Prebiotics* / adverse effects
  • Probiotics / adverse effects
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prebiotics