Probiotics are microbial strains that are beneficial to health, and their potential has recently led to a significant increase in research interest in their use to modulate the gut microbiota. The animal gut is a complex ecosystem of host cells, microbiota, and available nutrients, and the microbiota prevents several degenerative diseases in humans and animals via immunomodulation. The gut microbiota and its influence on human nutrition, metabolism, physiology, and immunity are addressed, and several probiotic species and strains are discussed to improve the understanding of modulation of gut microbiota. This paper provides a broad review of several Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and other coliform bacteria as the most promising probiotic species and their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, malignancy, liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. This review also discusses a recent study of Saccharomyces spp. in which inflammation was prevented by promotion of proinflammatory immune function via the production of short-chain fatty acids. A summary of gut microbiota alteration with future perspectives is also provided.