Restoring maternal microbes immediately after birth, in a practice dubbed ‘vaginal seeding’, has been suggested as a means of improving microbiome development in cesarean-born neonates. Two new studies come to contradictory findings, however, highlighting the need for more clinical trials before the practice is generalized.

While we have known for a while that a diet consisting of fiber-rich foods reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases and lowers people’s mortality rate, scientists have only recently started elucidating why fiber is beneficial for human health. This article clarifies the definition and health implications of the closely related terms fiber, MACs and prebiotics.

Beyond live microorganisms, inanimate microorganisms and their components can also confer a health benefit on the host. A panel of experts under the auspices of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) updates the definition and scope of postbiotics.

Analysing the molecular and biochemical mechanisms disturbing the complex network of communication is key to our understanding of the pathophysiology of the functional GI disorders. Together with ESNM we have prepared an exciting webinar series under the topic: Microbiota and Gut-Brain Connection: A new Frontier in Neurogastroenterology. This free resource is a great opportunity to hear leading worldwide experts presenting the most recent findings on this topic.

The role of gut microbiota in shaping immune responses has led scientists to explore the modulation of the immune system as a mechanism underlying the health benefits of probiotics. A new systematic review and meta-analysis of 9 randomized clinical trials suggest probiotics may reduce the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections in generally healthy children and adults.