Nutritional Targeting of the Microbiome as Potential Therapy for Malnutrition and Chronic Inflammation

Nutrients. 2020 Oct 3;12(10):3032. doi: 10.3390/nu12103032.


Homeostatic interactions with the microbiome are central for a healthy human physiology and nutrition is the main driving force shaping the microbiome. In the past decade, a wealth of preclinical studies mainly using gnotobiotic animal models demonstrated that malnutrition and chronic inflammation stress these homeostatic interactions and various microbial species and their metabolites or metabolic activities have been associated with disease. For example, the dysregulation of the bacterial metabolism of dietary tryptophan promotes an inflammatory environment and susceptibility to pathogenic infection. Clinical studies have now begun to evaluate the therapeutic potential of nutritional and probiotic interventions in malnutrition and chronic inflammation to ameliorate disease symptoms or even prevent pathogenesis. Here, we therefore summarize the recent progress in this field and propose to move further towards the nutritional targeting of the microbiome for malnutrition and chronic inflammation.

Keywords: SCFA; immunometabolism; malnutrition; microbiome; nutritional intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dysbiosis / metabolism
  • Dysbiosis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / microbiology*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / microbiology*
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Nutrition Therapy / methods*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use