Recent explorations of the human gut microbiota suggest that perturbations of microbial communities may increase predisposition to different disease phenotypes. Dietary nutrients may be converted into metabolites by intestinal microbes that serve as biologically active molecules affecting regulatory functions in the host. Probiotics may restore the composition of the gut microbiome and introduce beneficial functions to gut microbial communities, resulting in amelioration or prevention of gut inflammation and other intestinal or systemic disease phenotypes.
This review describes how diet and intestinal luminal conversion by gut microbes play a role in shaping the structure and function of intestinal microbial communities. Proposed mechanisms of probiosis include alterations of composition and function of the human gut microbiome, and corresponding effects on immunity and neurobiology.