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Nutrition: An old science in a new microbial light

Nutrition and the gut microbiome

Knowledge of the gut microbiota is revolutionising what it means to be human. Indeed, an altered gut microbiota, often referred to as dysbiosis, has been observed in over 70 chronic diseases (Rojo et al2017). Although for most conditions it is still unclear as to the strength and direction of these relationships, recent developments in this field of research have led to a landmark shift in our understanding of the gut microbiota and its influence on human physiology. With this in mind and given the key influence of diet on the gut microbiota, it is clear that we need to rethink our humancentric approach to nutrition in relation to health and disease. Historically, the focus on food and nutrition and how it impacts disease risk has been investigated predominately through the lens of human metabolism. However, there is now a growing body of research investigating the impact of diet on the microbial ecosystem, made up of an estimated 40 trillion micro‐organisms, which reside within our gastrointestinal tract (Sender et al2016). This emerging area is shedding light on new pathways through which nutrition can impact mental and physical health, extending beyond human metabolism to microbial metabolism.


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