Could gut microbiota composition be used as a new kind of biomarker?
At the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2016 that was held in Miami (USA) March 5-6, 2016, leading experts presented up-to-date evidence on clinical applications of gut microbiota and its mechanisms and role in human health and disease.
The composition of the gut microbiota is emerging as a new indicator or marker of health, as it could in the future be used as a sensitive tool for identifying nutritional habits as well as disease risks. Gut microbiota is currently being explored as a biomarker for colon cancer risk, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, pregnancy complications, programming of health in early life, metabolic disease and brain disorders.
Current evidence shows that composition and functions of the human gut microbiota are significantly altered with different nutrient intakes, and also in patients with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, liver disease, and several metabolic and autoimmune conditions. Thus, microbial communities inhabiting the human gut provide a huge potential for new biomarkers. Gut microbiota might aid in early identification of colon cancer; also, it may mirror intestinal inflammation both in normal and pathological states. Furthermore, microbiota interventions might offer a new opportunity for targeting chronic diseases in the future. Increasing our knowledge about the interactions between commensal microbiota, host immunity, and host metabolism-with environmental factors influencing each component of this triad-may result in a better understanding of many diseases, including those beyond the gastrointestinal tract, and finally lead to better preventive and therapeutic strategies.
This report aims to show recent research findings in the field of gut microbial biomarkers: how gut microbiota can provide insights into the onset of certain conditions, and can provide potential new strategies for management and treatment.
You can read the report below and download it as a PDF by following this link:
Andreu Prados Andreu Prados holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy & Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Science writer specialised in gut microbiota and probiotics, working also as lecturer and consultant in nutrition and healthcare. Follow Andreu on Twitter @andreuprados