A growing number of scientific studies show diet can affect health through the gut microbiota. “By modulating your diet, you can also modulate your microbes. Microbes can contribute to the severity or the onset of a disease. But if your diet is wrong or unhealthy, that is the first cause,” highlights Clara Belzer. Food and dietary patterns actually have differing effects on the gut microbiota from one individual to another. In modulating the human gut microbiota, prebiotics and probiotics may turn out to be useful. “In our research we look at synbiotics, which is a combination of a probiotic and a prebiotic. When introducing the two into your diet, the effect in terms of modulating the microbiota and health might be better,” explains Prof. Belzer.

Probiotics and prebiotics can play a primary and decisive role in modulating the human gut microbiota

Clara Belzer is an Associate Professor in Microbiology at Wageningen University & Research, where she focuses on the direct role of intestinal microbes in human health and microbial networks. She is also the creator of the free online course “Nutrition and Health: Human Microbiome.” Prof. Belzer attended the 7th Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2018.