Recent research has shed light on the importance of gut microbiota both during pregnancy and early life. Despite recent research that shows the placenta is not sterile, as previously thought, gut microbiota colonization in the first days and weeks after birth appears to have enormous significance for post-natal life.

It has been previously reported that the gut microbiota could be involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. A recent study, led by Dr. Wolfgang zu Castell from the Scientific Computing Research Unit at Helmholtz Zentrum München in Munich (Germany) has found that butyrate may have a protective effect in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.