The relatively recent discovery that changes in the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiota are associated with obesity and related disorders has led to an explosion of interest in this now distinct research field. In the following chapter, we discuss the current evidence related to how the modulation of gut microbial populations might have beneficial effects with respect to controlling obesity. A number of studies in both animals and humans have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota is significantly altered in obesity and diabetes. Strategies including specific functional foods, probiotics, and prebiotics have the potential to favorably influence host metabolism by targeting the gut microbiota. Indeed, probiotics appear to be a promising approach to alter the host metabolic alterations linked to the changes in the gut microbiota. However, the mechanisms by which probiotics may impact on the development of obesity and metabolic health remain unclear and require further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)