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The gut microbiota in obesity and metabolic disease - a novel therapeutic target

Tuohy, K.M., Costabile, A. and Fava, F. (2009) The gut microbiota in obesity and metabolic disease - a novel therapeutic target. Nutritional Therapy & Metabolism, 27 (3). pp. 113-133. ISSN 1828-6232

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Obesity is sweeping the westernized world at a rate which far outstrips human genomic evolution, highlighting the importance of the obesogenic environment. Diet is an important component of this obesogenic environment, with certain diets (high fat, high refined carbohydrates and sugar) predisposing to overweight. On the other hand, there are also foods shown to protect against obesity and the diseases of obesity, including whole plant foods, dairy products, dietary fibre and functional foods like probiotics, prebiotics and phytochemicals. Interestingly, many of these foods mediate their health-promoting activities through the gut microbiota. The human gut microbiota itself has recently been identified as a contributory factor in this obesogenic environment, with differences observed between lean and obese. Evidence from human studies indicates that important groups of fermentative bacteria differ in abundance between lean and obese. Recently it has been suggested that anomalous microbiota composition in infancy can predispose to overweight in later life, highlighting the important role of optimal microbiota successional development, and that – as observed in laboratory animals – the gut microbiota may contribute to the aetiology of obesity. In this review we will introduce the gut microbiota, describe its interactions with major dietary components and the host, and then go on to discuss evidence indicating that the gut microbiota may contribute to the obesogenic environment. Finally, we will explore possible strategies for modulating the composition and activity of the human gut microbiota which may impact on obesity or the metabolic diseases associated with obesity. (Nutritional Therapy & Metabolism 2009; 27: 113-33)

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences
ID Code:12930
Uncontrolled Keywords:Obesity, Intestine, Microbiota, Prebiotic, Resistant, Starch

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