The Effect of Probiotics on the Production of Short-Chain Fatty Acids by Human Intestinal Microbiome

Nutrients. 2020 Apr 16;12(4):1107. doi: 10.3390/nu12041107.


The relationship between diet and the diversity and function of the intestinal microbiome and its importance for human health is currently the subject of many studies. The type and proportion of microorganisms found in the intestines can determine the energy balance of the host. Intestinal microorganisms perform many important functions, one of which is participation in metabolic processes, e.g., in the production of short-chain fatty acids-SCFAs (also called volatile fatty acids). These acids represent the main carbon flow from the diet to the host microbiome. Maintaining intestinal balance is necessary to maintain the host's normal health and prevent many diseases. The results of many studies confirm the beneficial effect of probiotic microorganisms on the balance of the intestinal microbiome and produced metabolites, including SCFAs. The aim of this review is to summarize what is known on the effects of probiotics on the production of short-chain fatty acids by gut microbes. In addition, the mechanism of formation and properties of these metabolites is discussed and verified test results confirming the effectiveness of probiotics in human nutrition by modulating SCFAs production by intestinal microbiome is presented.

Keywords: SCFA; human health; intestinal microbiome; metabolites of bacteria; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium / metabolism
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Host Microbial Interactions / drug effects*
  • Host Microbial Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Lactic Acid
  • Carbon